- FIA director general instructs Special Prosecutor Sikander Zulqarnain Saleem not to appear in court
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) decided on Thursday not to prosecute Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz in a Rs16-billion money-laundering case.
The indictment of Shehbaz and others was due on April 27, but was postponed till May 14 after the counsel of the premier sought a one-time exemption for his client on account of him being busy in his duties as PM.
In the most recent development, Special Central Court Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan issued a written order at the request of the FIA's prosecutor. As per the written application, the FIA director general (DG), via the investigating officer, had told Special Prosecutor Sikander Zulqarnain Saleem not to appear in court as the accused "were going to be elected as PM and chief minister of Punjab" and "the concerned quarters are not interested to prosecute the accused persons."
Last year, the FIA had submitted a challan in a banking court against Shehbaz and his two sons, Hamza and Salman, citing them as the main suspects in a money laundering case.
The investigation team had found 28 Benami accounts that were operated under Shehbaz and his household staff members' names from 2008 to 2018 — while the opposition leader was chief minister and Hamza was Member of the National Assembly.
On January 27, the special court had granted pre-arrest bail to Shehbaz and Hamza in the case.