An accountability court has rejected a plea of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), seeking the physical remand of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in the money laundering case and started proceedings to declare his daughter a fugitive.
Shehbaz sent to jail on judicial remand
“There is no justification for extending the physical remand of Shehbaz,” a four-page verdict authored by accountability court judge Jawad Al-Hassan stated. The written order states that according to the investigation, Shehbaz did not disclose the means of paying the instalments of the flats and could not even provide business documents.
According to the record, a reference has been filed against Shehbaz over the allegations levelled against him. Copies of the reference have also been provided to Shehbaz and other accused and the money-laundering reference trial has begun.
Shehbaz’s daughter declared a fugitive
Further, the court commenced with proceedings to declare Shehbaz’s daughter, Rabia Imran, a fugitive in the money-laundering case. The investigating officer has posted notices outside Rabia’s house.
The proceedings to declare Rabia a fugitive began after she failed to appear before the court despite repeated summons. According to the report of the news agency, Rabia Imran, daughter of PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, was summoned several times by the accountability court in reference to money laundering and assets in excess of income. Her non-bailable arrest warrant was also issued for her non-appearance. The warrants, however, could not be executed because they were abroad.
What this means for SC’s new directions on corruption cases
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the accountability courts across the country to ensure hearing of corruption-related cases on a daily basis and avoid delay in trials of references filed in cases.
Supreme Court is expected to issue detailed judgment in Justice Isa case within a week as one member Justice Faisal Arab is retiring on Nov 4.The ruling, which will reveal reasons for quashing reference against SC judge, may have far reaching implications on national politics. https://t.co/VTcZjnq5nd— Hasnaat Malik (@HasnaatMalik) October 21, 2020
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard a case pertaining to delay in trial of cases by the accountability courts as well as a suo moto review petition on the court direction passed in cases regarding the grant of bail to co-accused.
Apex court orders for establishment of 120 new accountability courts within a month
During the hearing, the federal government informed the apex court that the federal cabinet will give approval of new 120 accountability courts within a week. The additional attorney general told the apex court that approval in this regard had been forwarded to the prime minister. The chief justice, however, reminded the law officer that this was already intimated to the court on the last hearing.
The law officer replied that the attorney general was meeting with the prime minister today for the approval of establishing 120 new accountability courts and, hopefully, the cabinet will give its approval within a week.
It is anticipated that following the daily trial of anti corruption cases, the conviction rate is more than likely to go up. In addition, it is also expected that more names will be struck off the travel blacklist, as was done recently.
At the same time, however, continuously delaying Shehbaz Sharif’s trial seems to directly contradict with the Supreme Court’s latest direction to try anti corruption cases on a daily basis. In addition, Rabia’s failure to appear before court all the more delays the “daily hearing” initiative recently undertaken by the apex court. This begs the question whether their direction on the daily trial of anti corruption cases encompasses the Sharif family or not.