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FIA steps back from cases on Hamza, Shehbaz Sharif?

The FIA had submitted a petition stating that the concerned authorities are no more interested in the trial. Needless to say, FIA's alleged refusal to pursue the case has caused quite the storm in Pakistan.

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In an unprecedented move, the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) has decided not to pursue a money laundering case against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, his son Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz.

Special Judge Central Aijaz Hasan led the hearing today where Special Prosecutor of the FIA Sikander Zulqarnain submitted that DG FIA asked him through an investigation officer to leave the case. As a result, the FIA had submitted a petition stating that the concerned authorities are no more interested in the trial against PM Shehbaz and his son, Punjab CM Hamza.

Read more: FIA warns overseas Pakistanis of arrest

“Director-General FIA has decided not to appear in the court against Shehbaz Sharif,” FIA’s special prosecutor said.

According to details, the election of the accused as the prime minister and chief minister was the reason for not pursuing the case.

However, the judge rejected the FIA’s plea. It also directed Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz to appear before the court on May 14 for indictment proceedings.

To clarify, the FIA had in December 2021 submitted the challan against Shehbaz and Hamza to a special court for their alleged involvement in laundering an amount of Rs 16 billion in the sugar scam case. Moreover, FIA also claimed that the father-son duo failed to provide a money trail of Rs 16 billion which had nothing to do with their sugar business.

FIA’s decision raises storm

Needless to say, FIA’s refusal to pursue the case has caused quite the storm in Pakistan. Criticism poured in for FIA. Consequently, netizens along with PTI leaders condemned the decision by FIA.

“Surprisingly, the institutions of the motherland are cultivating crime instead of preventing it,” former SAPM Dr Shahbaz Gill tweeted.

Similarly, netizens are also questioning FIA’s refusal to uphold the rule of law. Leading journalist Kamran Shahid called the decision “immoral”.

“FIA backs down from prosecuting Crime Minister. Time to start a fund where all Pakistanis can contribute to buy justice in Pakistan. We can do it. Just name your price publicly and we will raise the amount,” one Twitterati wrote.

Pertinent to mention, a few days ago former FIA Director Dr Rizwan died of cardiac arrest. He was presiding over the entire investigations of FIA against Shehbaz Sharif and his family in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case. Concerns were raised over his sudden demise.

Read more: Ex-FIA director Dr. Rizwan passes away

Fake news?

On the other hand, FIA has rejected the news of its withdrawal of cases against Hamza Shehbaz and Shehbaz Sharif.