–LHC forms new bench in three graft cases against PML-N vice president
LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Hamza Shehbaz refused to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Lahore on Wednesday, expressing distrust in the bureau through a written reply in money laundering and asset beyond means cases.
In a reply to NAB’s call-up notice, the Punjab Assembly opposition leader wrote, “I have lost confidence in the credibility and impartiality of the bureau and thus have no trust in the so-called investigation being carried under the aegis of NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal.”
He said he had suspicions over NAB proceedings against him in past, however, the recent interview of the bureau chairman with a senior journalist has proved that his concerns were well-founded.
He said in the interview the NAB chairman went on to make disclosures compromising minimum standards of impartiality and fairness of an investigation.
He termed the interview a political narrative of the present regime rather than an account of the impartiality of an investigating agency
Another reason for skipping the hearing was that the instant call-up notice contained similar questions to which he had already responded.
“I have been declaring all my assets and income related information before the tax authorities and as a public office holder before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as per the law.”
LHC FORMS NEW BENCH:
The Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice on Wednesday constituted a new two-member bench to hear the bail petitions of Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz in three different graft cases.
The bench comprising Justice Mazahir Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Shahid Waheed Khan will hear the petitions of the PML-N leader in Ramzan Sugar Mills, Saaf Pani and assets beyond means cases on June 3.
The bench, under the stewardship of Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, had earlier on Tuesday referred the petitions to the LHC chief justice to fix them before another bench after Hamza expressed mistrust in the bench. Justice Sardar Ahmed Naeem was another member of the bench.
During the hearing, the opposition leader said he respected the judiciary and was not afraid of his arrest.
Referring to a controversial interview of the NAB chairman, he contended that the bureau’s head claimed that Hamza will not be able to hide behind the bail as the bench had changed now. He questioned if the NAB chairman had become powerful enough to get a bench changed or bail revoked.
He, therefore, requested the bench to transfer the case to another bench to hear and decide it.
Granting Hamza’s request, Justice Najafi referred the matter to the chief justice to fix it before any other bench. The bench also extended his pre-arrest bail till the next hearing.