LHC seeks NAB's response over Shehbaz's bail plea by April 13

PML-N leader contends his case has been lingering on with NAB since September last year "without an iota of evidence"


Rana Yasif March 29, 2021
Shahbaz Sharif. PHOTO: TARIQ HASAN/EXPRESS

LAHORE:

A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) sought on Monday detailed response from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over the post-arrest bail plea of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif in money laundering case by April 13.

As the proceedings began, the bench headed by Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar sought para-wise comments from the bureau over the plea, put forth on medical grounds and hardship.

The petitioner maintained in his plea that he had been in NAB's custody for a long time, but the bureau had miserably failed to collect "an iota of evidence of corruption, corrupt practice, kickback, commission, misuse or abuse of public office for personal gain throughout his career, notwithstanding the thorough and protracted probe with brute state apparatus, resources and infrastructure at its disposal."

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Shehbaz contended that he was 70 years old, suffering from multiple diseases, including cancer, but that the conduct of the jail authorities and health department had been callous and inhuman as unnecessary and unjustifiable delays were caused in making the requisite arrangements, which deteriorated and affected his health.

With respect to battling cancer and other ailments at this juncture of age, the petitioner added, "The detention may prove to be hazardous to his life or cause irreversible and irreparable harm to his health." Hence, he maintained that he was entitled to a bail at the anvil of fundamental right of life and liberty.

The PML-N leader implored that he had been behind bars since September 28, 2020, adding that the trial was still at an initial stage.

He noted that as many as 110 prosecution witnesses were cited in the calendar, whereas the references comprised hefty and voluminous record, spanning 58 volumes.

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He highlighted that as per the report  submitted by the trial before the top court in the bail matter of the co-accused, it would require at least 10 to 12 months for the trial's conclusion with full cooperation by the prosecution and representation of the 10 persons accused through their counsels.

The progress in the trial, Shehbaz added, was minimal as the case was still at the stage of recording testimonies of prosecution witnesses, notwithstanding that there was no fault on part of the petitioner in the peculiar circumstances and the case of the petitioner had become a case of hardship.

Subsequently, he prayed to the court that he be granted post-arrest bail, at which the court sought the bureau's response.

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