Home South Asia Pakistan Will Shehbaz Sharif finally return to Pakistan on June 11?

Will Shehbaz Sharif finally return to Pakistan on June 11?

When the case was taken up, the bureau requested the court to dismiss Shehbaz’s exemption application and issue arrest warrants against him over his continuous absence in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills case. Subsequently, Shehbaz’s counsel assured the court that Shehbaz would return to Pakistan on June 11. Recently, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the special assistant to prime minister on information and broadcasting, dared Shehbaz to return to Pakistan and stand trial in corruption cases so that the truth could be differentiated from lies.

Shehbaz

News Desk |

The counsel for the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif informed an accountability court on Tuesday that Shehbaz will return to Pakistan from London on June 11 when the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) requested the court to dismiss his plea for exemption.

When the case was taken up, the bureau requested the court to dismiss Shehbaz’s exemption application and issue arrest warrants against him over his continuous absence in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills case.

In the application, NAB said that Shehbaz was roaming in London but seeking exemption from personal appearance on account of health issues from the court. NAB prosecutors maintained that all medical tests and treatment were possible in Pakistan.

Hamza is also accused of owning assets beyond means and is being probed by a combined investigation team from NAB.

When the court inquired about the ex-chief minister Punjab’s return, his counsel assured the court that Shehbaz will return to Pakistan on June 11. Meanwhile, Shehbaz’s son Hamza Shehbaz, who is a co-accused, was present in the court.

In February, NAB had filed a reference against the two and alleged that the former chief minister of Punjab misused his authority by using public funds for the construction of a bridge to facilitate the Ramzan mills, owned by his sons.

Curious Case of Hamza

Hamza, like many of the scions of the Sharif family, has been booked in multiple accountability cases pertaining to alleged ownership of assets beyond his means and alleged involvement in corrupt practices.

Read more: NAB seeks more answers from Hamza Shahbaz

He, along with his brother Salman, is accused of embezzling Rs200 million from public funds in order to build a bridge benefiting Ramzan Sugar Mills — of which he is a director — in Chiniot, the media reported. It added that the money, according to NAB, was released by the then chief minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, who is also an accused in the case(s).

Hamza is also accused of owning assets beyond means and is being probed by a combined investigation team from NAB. According to an earlier report by Dawn, he was unable to satisfy the investigation team regarding properties owned by him in Pakistan and abroad.

Punjab’s opposition leader is also facing an inquiry into the Saaf Pani Company case for presiding over some meetings of its board of directors and allegedly issuing orders regarding the award of contracts when he was not even a member of the board.

On April 25, Hamza along with his lawyers — Amjad Pervaiz, Salman Butt, and Azam Nazir Tarar — appeared before LHC in NAB’s cases pertaining to assets beyond income, Saaf Pani project and Ramzan Sugar Mills.

Father, Son Plead not Guilty

On April 9, a court in Lahore had indicted the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and his son 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.

Earlier, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had extended Hamza’s interim bail in an ongoing investigation into assets beyond known sources of income. LHC had 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.

Read more: Is Shahbaz Sharif seeking political asylum in UK?

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. Currently, Hamza is facing NAB cases pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income, Saaf Pani and Ramzan Sugar Mills.

References Without Documents, Lawyers Tell LHC

On April 25, Hamza along with his lawyers — Amjad Pervaiz, Salman Butt, and Azam Nazir Tarar — appeared before LHC in NAB’s cases pertaining to assets beyond income, Saaf Pani project and Ramzan Sugar Mills.

Butt, who was representing Hamza in assets beyond income case, apprised LHC bench that the documents that were considered as the part of the reference were not attached with the case. He added that the case cannot proceed without the completion of the documents.

It was unfortunate that the prime minister was deceiving the public by telling them lies continuously, he said, adding the PML-N added 11,000MW of electricity to the national grid.

NAB prosecutor argued that the anti-corruption watchdog will have to investigate into offshore companies and foreign transactions of Hamza, adding that the investigators were tracing out persons and other sources who were used to handle money from a foreign country.

“How can we challenge the case in a court if we are not given documents,” Butt said, “the material, which is being used against an accused, cannot be hidden from the person.”

Firdous Ashiq Awan Challenges Shehbaz to Come Back

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the special assistant to prime minister on information and broadcasting, recently dared the PML-N’s stalwarts Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar to return to Pakistan and stand trial in corruption cases so that the truth could be differentiated from lies.

Read more: Awan dares Shahbaz to return to Pakistan after MoU signed for…

In a tweet, the PM’s special assistant on information challenged the PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif to come back to Pakistan along with the former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who has been declared an absconder in a corruption reference by an accountability court after he repeatedly failed to join the trial.

“Your “chamber” is empty Shahbaz Sharif and you are being searched here,” she said. “How can those who ran away from the battlefield lecture others on telling a lie,” the tweet read, adding the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif along with Dar should come back and face the truth. Apparently, she responded to Shehbaz and Dar’s press conference held in London.

On May 26, Shehbaz while addressing the press conference along with Dar had said that all opposition parties would meet after Eid for consultations. It was unfortunate that the prime minister was deceiving the public by telling them lies continuously, he said, adding the PML-N added 11,000MW of electricity to the national grid in its tenure despite facing difficulties. At the moment, the PML-N leaders said the masses were under a heavy burden of inflation and unemployment.

The PML-N had nominated Rana Tanveer as Shehbaz’s replacement as Public Accounts Committee chairman and Khawaja Asif as parliamentary leader.

Both the PML-N leaders are in London. Dar, as an absconder while Shehbaz has reportedly been undergoing medical treatment.

Is Shehbaz not Coming Back?

Earlier this month, PML-N’s move to nominate Rana Tanveer as Public Accounts Committee chairman and Khawaja Asif as parliamentary leader had triggered the debate if the opposition leader in NA would return from London or not.

The PML-N had nominated Rana Tanveer as Shehbaz’s replacement as Public Accounts Committee chairman and Khawaja Asif as parliamentary leader. Asif was nominated parliamentary leader by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The ex-PM had said that Khawaja Asif was made parliamentary leader on the request of Shehbaz.

Read more: Is Shahbaz Sharif not coming back?

Meanwhile, Abbasi had recently said that Shehbaz was receiving treatment in London and he was expected to return to Pakistan before the budget session.

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