LAHORE: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif on Friday appeared before an accountability court in a money laundering case, claiming that the state agencies were wasting the precious time of the court by filing a "fake case" against him.
In today's hearing, an accountability court extended the interim bail of Shahbaz and his son Hamza Shahbaz till February 28.
During the hearing, the PML-N leader said that he stayed in jail for seven months, and during this time, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials visited him twice.
“The documents which have been presented in the court were also submitted to UK's most prestigious National Crime Agency (NCA),” he stated.
It is pertinent to mention that NCA dropped a high-profile investigation into Shahbaz and his son after finding no evidence of money laundering, criminal conduct and misuse of public office.
Shahbaz further added that these documents have been compiled by FIA, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and Asset Recovery Unit (ARU), lamenting that he stayed in exile for four years.
“If I had ill-gotten money then why would I come back to Pakistan,” he said, adding that when he had returned he was sent back from the next flight.
Speaking in the court, the FIA lawyer questioned whether this statement of Shahbaz was final, to which the PML-N leader said that he was addressing the court and not the lawyer.
Meanwhile, Shahbaz’s lawyer Ata Tarar told the prosecutor that he should not teach them, which led to an argument amongst the lawyers of the two sides. The argument was stopped after the court intervened between the two parties.
Continuing, Shahbaz alleged that PM Imran Khan's former adviser on accountability, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, had an article printed against him in the Daily Mail; after which the ministers attacked him.
He added that after nearly two-and-a-half years the NCA dropped the inquiry against me.
The Opposition leader further added that it has been four years now and the government is yet to prove a single case of corruption against him.
“I saved nearly Rs1,000 billion of the people and served the poor people of Pakistan. I agree I have committed sins, but they cannot prove the corruption," said Shahbaz.
Shahbaz alleged that the Saaf Pani case was highlighted to defame him, “I was arrested in another case and kept in NAB's penitentiary, however, I am glad that all suspects were acquitted in Saaf Pani case.”
He further added former FIA director general Bashir Memon had said it on record that the prime minister had asked him to file a case against Shahbaz Sharif.
“I swear to God if it is proven that Suleman Shahbaz has done fraud with a Turkish company then I will apologise and go home,” he maintained.
The Opposition leader said that a "fake case" has been filed against him and he should be informed where the corruption was done.
“This is a fake and false case due to which the time of this court is being wasted,” he reiterated.
Later, other suspects including Shahbaz and Hamza could not be indicted in the special court, after which the court extended the interim bail of the suspects till February 28.
The leader of Opposition in the National Assembly spoke about the no-confidence motion after appearing before an accountability court, saying that "the Opposition would announce the details of the no-confidence motion when the time comes."
When asked about why the National Assembly session was delayed, Shahbaz claimed that the session of the lower house was delayed as the government was hoping he would be indicted on February 18 (today).
The PML-N leader claimed that the FIA had requested that the hearing date be set between February 17-19 so he could make an excuse about the NA session before the court.
“When the court rejected the FIA’s request they changed the date of the assembly session,” claimed Shahbaz.
— Thumbnail image: AFP/File
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