LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday granted Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif pre-arrest bail till April 17 in the Ramzan Sugar Mills and Saaf Pani Company cases.
The LHC also ordered him to pay surety bonds worth Rs10 million each and issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking its reply in the matter.
A two-member bench of the high court headed by Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan heard two separate applications that the PML-N leader had submitted for pre-arrest bail.
According to the bail petitions, Hamza was fearful of arrest by NAB in the two cases. It stated that previously NAB had “called politicians in one case and arrested them in another case”. The PML-N leader was fearful that the same would happen to him.
During the hearing, Hamza’s lawyer revealed that in a notice issued on Tuesday night, the provincial opposition leader was summoned by NAB in a money laundering and assets beyond means case on Wednesday.
The lawyer recalled that the LHC had granted Hamza bail in one of the cases against him. He said the PML-N leader had been indicted in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case and therefore they were fearful that NAB would arrest him.
On Monday, the LHC had approved pre-arrest bail for Hamza till April 17 and restrained NAB from arresting him until then in a case of alleged assets beyond means.
A day later, an accountability court indicted Hamza and his father, National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case. Both father and son pleaded not guilty to the charges framed against them, which involve the misuse of their authority and the illegal use of public funds.
Hamza was present in the LHC for Wednesday’s hearing. The court expressed displeasure at the disorderliness of PML-N party workers.
Justice Khan observed that the workers had behaved in a similar manner on Tuesday and even today they were making noise.
“This is not the right approach,” he said, adding that the bench was not happy with the disorder.
The judge remarked that everyone had come to the court “to get into the good graces” of the PML-N leadership and that videos and selfies were being taken in the court.
Hamza agreed with the judge but said that he had left his house without announcing the move. He said a mechanism would be decided on to ensure that such a situation did not occur in the court again.