- The NAB prosecutor told that there were 110 witnesses in the case whereas statements of 10 witnesses had been recorded so far.
LAHORE: A three-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday adjourned hearing of a bail petition filed by Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in assets beyond means and money laundering case till April 22.
The bench sought arguments from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor on the next date of hearing.
Justice Syed Ali Baqar Najafi headed the bench whereas Justice Aalia Neelum and Justice Syed Shahbaz Rizvi were its members.
As the proceedings resumed, Azam Nazir Tarar on behalf of Shehbaz Sharif argued that the relief of bail was given to his client as per law and the LHC website showed for three days that plea had been allowed.
At this, justice Ali Baqar Najafi observed that it was a lesson for you and always believe after getting verified copy of the orders. He further observed that the bench was hearing the matter as a referee and asked counsel to apprise about case facts.
The NAB prosecutor told that there were 110 witnesses in the case whereas statements of 10 witnesses had been recorded so far.
The petitioner's counsel submitted that there were 110 witnesses in the case but none had nominated Shehbaz Sharif. He submitted that there were four approvers in the case but they also did not nominate Shehbaz Sharif. The counsel further stated that his client was not given the right of cross examination from the approvers at the stage of recording their statements.
In response to the court orders, the NAB prosecutor read out the statements of the approvers and stated that Shehbaz Sharif obtained benami properties. Salman Shehbaz and other family members were his benamidars, he added.
To a court question about Salman Shehbaz, the prosecutor told that he did not join the investigations and he was a court absconder.
However, the petitioner's counsel argued that assets of all family members were shown as assets of Shehbaz Sharif only. He submitted that Shehbaz Sharif did not commit any corruption.
He submitted that the trial court had already told the Supreme Court that 10 to 12 months were required for completion. He submitted that the reference had been filed and there was no reason to keep Shehbaz Sharif behind the bars whereas many co-accused had already been granted bail in the case.
Subsequently, the bench adjourned further hearing till April 22 and sought arguments from the NAB prosecut.
LHC Chief justice Muhammad Qasim Khan had formed the three-member bench to hear bail petition of Shehbaz Sharif after split decision of a division bench in the matter.
Previously , Justice Sardar Mohammad Sarfraz Dogar, who headed the division bench, allowed Shehbaz Shaif's bail petition while its other member Justice Asjad Javed Ghural dismissed the same on merits.
Justice Ghural observed: “Suffice is to say that sufficient incriminating material is available on the record to connect the petitioner with the alleged offence and thus, he is not entitled to the relief claimed for.”
Shehbaz Sharif through his petition had sought the relief of post -arrest bail, while referring to delay in conclusion of trial, relief of bail to co-accused, and hardship.
It is pertinent to mention here that Shehbaz Sharif was arrested on Sept 28, 2020 after the LHC denied him further relief of pre-arrest bail in the case.
He remained in the NAB’s custody for 23 days till the trial court sent him on judicial remand on Oct 20, 2020.
In a reference, comprising 55 volumes, the bureau had alleged that Shehbaz Sharif family committed massive money laundering of Rs 7 billion. Yasir Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmad, Shahid Rafique and Aftab were made approvers in the reference.