NAB arrests Hamza Shehbaz | Pakistan Today

NAB arrests Hamza Shehbaz

–LHC dismisses Punjab Assembly Opp leader’s bail pleas after his lawyer withdraws applications in two corruption cases

–Hamza Shehbaz vows to quit politics if NAB succeeds in proving even ‘one rupee’ corruption against him

–Maryam Nawaz says Hamza and Zardari’s arrest aimed at diverting attention from govt’s ‘historic failures’

LAHORE: A day after taking former president Asif Zardari into custody in Islamabad in the fake accounts case, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday arrested Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz after the Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissed his bail petitions in the Saaf Pani Company, Ramzan Sugar Mills and money laundering cases.

A two-member bench, headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi, wrapped up the bail applications filed by Hamza after his lawyer withdrew the bail pleas in the two corruption cases.

Hamza, who appeared before the bench to request an extension in his bail which expired on Tuesday, was arrested by a NAB team from the court premises and taken to the bureau’s Lahore headquarters at Thokar Niaz Baig.

Previously, a two-member bench, headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi, had extended Hamza’s bail until June 11 in the cases related to Punjab Saaf Pani Company, Ramzan Sugar Mills, money laundering and assets beyond means cases.

Prior to his arrest on Tuesday, Hamza told journalists present outside the courtroom that not even a “one rupee” corruption could be proven against him.

“I will quit politics if it is proven that I was involved in corrupt practices,” he said.

On April 5, the accountability watchdog had failed in its bid to arrest Hamza — in a case of money laundering and owning assets beyond means — as it faced strong resistance from the Sharif family’s security personnel as well as PML-N supporters.

On April 6, NAB faced another embarrassing day as its second attempt to arrest the PML-N leader remained unsuccessful. The five-hour siege of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s Model Town residence by the Lahore NAB and police ended after the LHC restrained the bureau from arresting Hamza, granting him protective bail.

On May 28, a bench of the court — comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem — recused itself from hearing the case after Hamza had personally told the bench that he had reservations on the bench since NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal made the bail proceedings controversial by discussing them in a recent interview to the media.

Hamza had said the bureau’s chairman in his interview claimed to have influenced the formation of the bench. He had requested the bench to not proceed with the matter to protect integrity of the courts.

On May 29, LHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan had entrusted proceedings on the bail petition of Hamza to another division bench comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Waheed Khan.

Meanwhile, Hamza’s paternal cousin and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz lashed out at the PTI government over his arrest and said that “NAB, which is dancing to the tunes of the puppet prime minister, has crossed all limits of injustice and oppression”.

Taking to Twitter minutes after the arrest of the PML-N leader, she said those persons indulging in such activities have never evaded the retribution of history and will never be able to do so in the future. “This puppet show is going to end, InshAllah,” she wrote.

The PML-N vice president claimed that the arrests of Hamza and Zardari are aimed at diverting attention from the government’s historic failures such as the recent Economic Survey and the budget.

But, she added, such an attempt won’t save the government from the wrath of the people.

“Crumbling walls can’t be saved with the arrests,” she opined.

No matter what the prime minister and his government do, the PML-N will become a voice of the public at any cost, she said, adding, “Prisons are neither new for Hamza nor the PML-N. We have faced oppression inflicted by a dictator.”

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