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.
FIA decides not to prosecute Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz in Rs16 billion money laundering case days before indictment.
Reason: The concerned quarters are not interested to prosecute the accused persons.
— Sana Jamal (@Sana_Jamal) May 12, 2022
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.
The judge has rejected FIA request and fixed May 14 as date for indictment of PM and his son in money laundering case https://t.co/iKyKVM28Jr
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) May 12, 2022
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.
اور FIAنے فیصلہ کیا ہے کہ وہ شہباز شریف- حمزہ شہباز ،مقصود چپڑاسی اور ساتھیوں پر منی لانڈرنگ کا کیس نہیں چلانا چاہتے۔عدالت نے فیصلہ دے دیا-کیس بند۔
حیرت ہے مادر وطن کے اداروں پر کہ یہ جرم کی روک تھا کی بجائے جرم کی پرورش کر رہے ہیں۔ کیا آپکو نہیں لگتا تاریخ آپکو معاف نہیں کرے گی
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) May 12, 2022
Similarly, netizens are also questioning FIA’s refusal to uphold the rule of law. Leading journalist Kamran Shahid called the decision “immoral”.
Breaking Now : FIA WITHDRAW PROSECUTION AGAINST HUMZA AND SHAHBAZ SHAREEF …Rule of law is the causality here …Absolute Power corrupts absolutely/ though imran khan failed2 build strong institutions like FIA but that’s no excuse to justify immoral retreat of FIA to save its PM
— Kamran Shahid (@FrontlineKamran) May 12, 2022
“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.
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. Will save a lot of time. #امپورٹڈ__حکومت__نامنظور
— Doctor Dredd (@drhassanbilal) May 12, 2022
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.
I think Dr. Rizwan's mysterious death could be the reason of FIA shutting down the money laundering cases against Shehbaz Sharif and his son. Sab ko apni jaan pyari hoti hai.
— Abdullah (@michaelscottfc) May 12, 2022
Read more: Ex-FIA director Dr. Rizwan passes away
On the other hand, FIA has rejected the news of its withdrawal of cases against Hamza Shehbaz and Shehbaz Sharif.
— Federal Investigation Agency – FIA (@FIA_Agency) May 12, 2022