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Pakistan

Web Desk
June 22, 2021

Sugar scandal: Shahbaz Sharif appears before FIA

Web Desk
Tue, Jun 22, 2021
PML-N President Main Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif leaving after his hearing at an accountability court in Lahore, on April 1, 2021. — Online/File
PML-N President Main Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif leaving after his hearing at an accountability court in Lahore, on April 1, 2021. — Online/File

In a money laundering probe that involves a sugar mill owned by the Sharif family, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif on Tuesday appeared before the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)  to face an inquiry.

The notice sent to the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly had asked for a response to Rs25 billion allegedly having been sent to accounts of low-grade employees of the Ramzan Sugar Mill. A questionnaire of 20 items was sent via his advisor and Shahbaz was asked to send responses along with his signature.

In a another inquiry, the FIA has summoned Hamza Shahbaz on June 24.

The FIA had summoned Shahbaz at 11am, however, the Opposition leader arrived for the inquiry at 11:47am.

Shahbaz and Hamza had earlier obtained pre-arrest bail till July 10 from a banking court. The court, in its written verdict, directed both to submit bail bonds of Rs1 million each. 

In the event the amount is not submitted, FIA reserves the right to arrest Shahbaz and Hamza. It is also incumbent upon both to appear before the FIA whenever summoned.

A five-member FIA team questioned him for half an hour, with Director FIA Punjab Zone-1 Dr Rizwan leading the interrogation.

Security was beefed up outside the FIA offices prior to Shahbaz's appearance. A large crowd of PML-N supporters gathered outside the building.

As Shahbaz was leaving, officials called him again for a second time, sources said, adding that it was not clear on whose instructions and why he was summoned again. He was questioned for half an hour more.

FIA officials refrained from commenting on the matter.

'FIA-Niazi nexus'

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, speaking to media on the occasion, said the Opposition leader had been summoned due to the "FIA-Niazi nexus".

"FIA's office is Imran Khan's office now, just like NAB's office was established at Prime Minister House. But now, after the fall of the NAB-Niazi nexus, the FIA-Niazi nexus has come into play," she added.