LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Opposition leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif once again knocked on the doors of the Lahore High Court where he was granted pre-arrest bail till April 17.
The opposition leader has long feared arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Ramzan Sugar Mills and Saaf Pani Company cases. Petitioner Hamza Shehbaz Sharif’s counsel, Azam Nazir Tarar, told the court that NAB was hell bent on arresting his client arrest despite the fact that he is cooperating with the bureau. He added that Hamza had also provided all the items required by NAB.
The counsel said NAB was harassing his client so he fears being arrested in the Ramzan Suguar Mills and Saaf Paani Company cases. He asked the court to accept the petition and grant pre-arrest bail in these cases.
The division bench granted pre-arrest bail to Hamza Shehbaz Sharif and sought comments from NAB by April 17. The bench also directed Hamza to furnish bail bonds worth Rs10million in each case.
As proceedings commenced, the head of the bench, Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan, expressed his dismay over the noise and disorder in the courtroom by the crowd of party workers, leaders and lawyers. The bench asked Tarar why there was such a huge number of lawyers present with them.
Tarar replied that his side had not invited members of the legal fraternity nor the media. He added that these individuals had shown up on their own wish.
Justice Malik Shehzad bemoaned the fact that party workers were taking selfies in the courtroom and had only appeared to rack up political points. He also questioned the reason for chanting political slogans in the courtroom.
The judge asked for the purpose of their assembly and reminded the party workers that they had been ordered to maintain order in the courtroom during the last hearing.
Hamza Shehbaz said he quietly left his house for the LHC and was unaware of how the media learnt that he had reached the court. He assured that the dignity of court proceedings would be maintained at the next hearing.
Talking to the media after the hearing, Hamza said Prime Minister Imran Khan and NAB were collectively involved in a witch hunt. Lashing out at NAB, he said the bureau calls suspects for one matter and arrests them in another.
He added the economy of the country has been ruined by the present government. “It is on a ventilator,” he claimed. The PML-N leader added that the current rulers had made the lives of the masses miserable. He stated that the public was not even able to pay its utility bills. He said all NAB cases against him and his family members are false.
On April 6, LHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan granted pre-arrest bail to Hamza in a case of assets accumulated beyond known means of income. Later, the same division bench extended the bail by April 17, issuing notices to NAB for detailed comments.
Petitioner Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, in his bail petition, asked for the court’s help in safeguarding his right of life, liberty and honour. He contended that the NAB arrest warrant violated statutory provisions and the law.
The PML-N leader contended that NAB wanted to implicate him and his family in false criminal cases.