LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday extended the interim bail of Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz till May 8.
Hamza along with his lawyers appeared at the hearing amid tight security arrangement made in and around the high court.
From the petitioner’s side, three lawyers — Amjad Pervaiz, Salman Butt and Azam Nazir Tarar — appeared in the court in three different references filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pertaining to assets beyond income, Saaf Pani project and Ramzan Sugar Mills.
Lawyer Salman Butt was representing Hamza Shehbaz in assets beyond income case.
The high court ordered NAB prosecutor to produce documents in the cases. The LHC judge asked NAB prosecutor to inform the court regarding availability of documents in the references.
Shehbaz’s counsel Salman Butt apprised LHC judge that the documents which were considered as the part of the reference was not attached in assets beyond income case. He added that the case cannot be proceeded without completion of the documents.
NAB prosecutor argued that the anti-corruption watchdog will have to investigate into offshore companies and foreign transactions of Hamza Shehbaz. The investigators were tracing out persons and other sources which were used to transact money from foreign country, the official said.
“The court had directed to inform Hamza Shehbaz, 10 days prior to his arrest while the statement is still due to be recorded regarding the documents.”
Butt said, “The petitioner was not apprised for reasons behind his arrest in the assets’ case and related documents should be provided to him which were used to initiate inquiry against his client.”
“How can we challenge the case in a court if we are not being given documents. The material, which is being used against an accused, cannot be hidden from the person,” said Butt.
“If it is a case of money laundering, than NAB is not authorised to arrest his client without seeking permission from magistrate, except holding an inquiry. Both regulations cannot be merged if money laundering case will have to proceed in sessions court,” he added.
NAB prosecutor said that complaints were emerged against Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and Salman Shehbaz. Financial Monitoring Unit has also spotted suspicious transactions but its report is secret which cannot be provided.
The court inquired NAB prosecutor whether contents of the report be included as part of the case. To this, the official answered that the facts will be emerged after investigation.
LHC judge remarked that the institution should make it clear whether the report will be used as evidence in the case or not. The official affirmed that the probe will be conducted on basis of the report.
After completion of the arguments, the high court extended interim bail of Hamza Shehbaz till May 8 and adjourned the hearing.
‘NAB OFFICIALS MAKING MONEY’:
Addressing reporters after the court proceedings, Hamza accused NAB officials of making money through plea bargains.
The PML-N leader said, “Plea bargains are not fair. Every official from the bureau embezzles huge sums of money through it.”
He reiterated that nobody had been able to prove pennyworth of corruption against himself, Nawaz, and Shehbaz Sharif.
“Imran should fear the day NAB foments corruption scandals against him,” he added.
Comparing Malik Mansha Khokar alias Mansha Bomb and the accountability bureau, Hamza said that there was no difference between the two.
“Both function the same way,” he said.
On the plight of a common man, Hamza said that inflation is at an all-time high, adding that investors were no longer interest in trade with Pakistan.