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LAHORE: A full bench of the Lahore High Court on Thursday allowed post-arrest bail to Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in a money laundering reference.

The bench was comprised of Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, who headed the bench with Justice Aalia Neelum and Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi announced a unanimous short order in open court and read it as “For the reasons to be recorded later and with the consensus, we admit the petitioner to post arrest bail subject to his furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs 5 million with two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned trial court.” Earlier, NAB special prosecutor referred to a statement of advocate Azam Nazir Tarar counsel of Shahbaz Sharif about a split decision issued by a division bench in the matter.

The prosecutor said the statement of the counsel amounted to contempt of court and he should take his words back.

Tarar had stated that it was unfortunate that the bench initially allowed the bail petition and later issued a split decision. The counsel said he never witnessed change in an announced decision in his 27 years of his practice.

Tarar owned his words and said he wondered the prosecutor wanted the bench to initiate contempt proceedings against him.

The bench, asked the prosecutor to start his arguments when he emphasized to establish that the statement of the counsel fell within the definition of contempt.

He argued that Shehbaz Sharif accumulated massive assets in the names of his family members as benamidars. He said two proxy companies established by the petitioner’s sons Hamza and Suleman alone received an unexplained foreign investment of Rs 2 billion.

On a court query the prosecutor told the bench that only family members of the petitioner were shareholders of the companies.

The prosecutor said the family members of the petitioner were also nominated suspects in the money laundering reference. He pointed out the petitioner’s wife Nusrat Begum, son Salman, his daughter Rabia, and son-in-law

Imran and others had been declared absconders by the trial court.

He said the family of the petitioner established properties in 2005 when it started receiving huge foreign ‘investment’ through TTs.

Justice Najafi asked the prosecutor whether the NAB investigated the source of TTs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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