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Nawaz, Shahbaz, Hamza on same page


News Desk |

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and the Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz appeared to be on the same page on Tuesday as they all sought exemption from personal appearance from different courts located in Islamabad and Lahore.

In the capital, IHC’s division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani allowed Nawaz’s exemption application and adjourned the case till May 9 with directions to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to present complete record of the case in paper books. The case was adjourned after Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris pointed out that the case record in the paper books was incomplete.

Hamza’s request to allow him to leave for attending the ongoing session of the Punjab assembly was accepted with the observation that hearing would continue even in his absence.

The ex-premier Nawaz Sharif sought exemption from personal appearance from IHC in the Al-Azizia reference. The ex-PM had filed the application in the IHC on Monday which was taken up for hearing on Tuesday. On Dec 24, Islamabad’s Accountability Court had convicted Sharif in the reference and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had granted him bail for six weeks on medical grounds and, subsequently, he was released from Kot Lakhpat jail. The medical certificate attached with the application stated that it is “certify that the special medical board, constituted at the Sharif Medical City…has advised Mr Muhammad Nawaz Sharif…complete rest and avoidance of stress, as it would be seriously detrimental to his health”.

Read more: End of the house of Sharif? NAB to file case against…

Shahbaz and Hamza Cases

Meanwhile, Shahbaz and his son Hamza sought the same relief from an accountability court in Lahore. Hamza appeared before the accountability court on Tuesday in Lahore in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case to seek exemption from personal appearance. His father Shahbaz Sharif, who is the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President, also sought exemption from personal appearance through his counsel as he was abroad.

Hamza was summoned only in Ramzan Sugar Mills case whereas Shahbaz was directed to appear in both Ashiana Iqbal Housing scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases. Hamza’s request to allow him to leave for attending the ongoing session of the Punjab assembly was accepted with the observation that hearing would continue even in his absence.

Hamza is facing NAB cases pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income, Saaf Pani and Ramzan Sugar Mills. Following the hearing, the cases were adjourned till April 29.

However, the Accountability Court Judge Najamul Hassan while expressing annoyance over the absence of former Chief Minister remarked ‘how could Shahbaz go abroad without obtaining prior permission from the court’.

Shahbaz’s counsel replied that he has been granted bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC) and he was abroad for medical treatment. The court reserved verdict on Shahbaz’s application and continued with the case proceedings.

On April 9, the court indicted Shahbaz and Hamza in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case. Both the suspects had pleaded not guilty and maintained that they had not only saved Rs2,300 billion but the money was never misused.

Read more: Shahbaz Sharif indicted in Ashiana Housing scandal: NRO or No NRO?

Earlier, the LHC had extended Hamza’s interim bail till April 25 in an ongoing investigation into assets beyond known sources of income and barred NAB from arresting him. On February 14, Shahbaz had also been granted bail by the LHC in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases.

Previously, a NAB team has tried to arrest Hamza twice on grounds that he was not cooperating in the ongoing investigation but couldn’t succeed because of resistance by guards and the party workers.

Subsequently, a case was registered against Hamza’s guards on an application filed by the NAB saying that Hamza’s guards had manhandled members of the NAB team, tore their clothes, and threatened their lives when they raided his residence to arrest him.

Cheema said that there would be no “deal” or “dheel” in Sharif’s case and the accountability process would definitely reach to its logical end.

Hamza is facing NAB cases pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income, Saaf Pani and Ramzan Sugar Mills. Following the hearing, the cases were adjourned till April 29.

PTI’s Reaction on Sharif’s Case

“It seems the Sharif family is trying to avoid accountability in the garb of ailment of Mr Sharif,” the local media quoted from a statement issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Central Media Department on Monday.

It added that the party’s information secretary Omar Sarfraz Cheema said that political engagements of Sharif over the last 27 days had completely contradicted what the Sharif family members wanted to establish about the health of the former PML-N leader.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif insists on going to London, Fawad Chaudhry

Cheema said that there would be no “deal” or “dheel” in Sharif’s case and the accountability process would definitely reach to its logical end.