LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) extended the interim pre-arrest bail of Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif till May 22.
He is being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Ramzan Sugar Mills, Saaf Paani project and assets beyond known means of income cases.
A two-member bench, headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, also fixed the same date to hear a contempt petition filed by Hamza Shehbaz against NAB officials. The PML-N leader, and son of former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, alleged NAB raided his house and harassed family members. He said this was despite the fact that the bureau, as per an order of the LHC, was bound to inform him ten days before taking such action. The NAB DG DG submitted his reply in the said contempt petition.
As proceedings commenced on Wednesday, Hamza’s lawyers expressed their dismay over not being handed over relevant documents they had been demanding from NAB. Earlier, the opposition leader’s legal team demanded some important documents related to financial monitoring units when the NAB inquiry turned into an investigation. It also wanted to see the arrest warrant for Hamza Sharif and some other documents.
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NAB’s counsel claimed to the court that the relevant documents had been handed over with the exception of the financial monitoring units report. He said that these dicuments were secret and therefore withheld.
However, the NAB lawyers presented the FMU report before the bench. After court orders, NAB lawyers handed over the copy of the arrest warrant to Hamza and his team.
Hamza’s counsel Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar contended that the bench had clearly directed NAB to inform Hamza ten days before completing his arrest. He added NAB violated the order conducted and raided Hamza’s house.
Tight security arrangements were made for the arrival of the PML-N leader at the Lahore High Court (LHC) and heavy contingents of police were deployed.
Petitioner Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, in his bail petition, asked the court to safeguarding his right of life, liberty and honour. He said the NAB arrest warrant was not only in violation of statutory provisions, but also the law. “An arrest is not desirable even in most heinous of offences as long as an accused cooperates during investigation,” he claimed.
He named NAB, through its director general and assistant director, as respondents.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2019.
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