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March 31, 2020

Shahbaz Sharif’s family seeking unfreezing of assets

National

March 31, 2020

LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday summoned parties for arguments on May 5 on an application moved by the Shahbaz family seeking unfreezing of their assets.

The court adjourned the hearing by May 5 after the National Accountability Bureau submitted its reply in this regard. The NAB in its reply stated that the money laundering investigations against Shahbaz Sharif, Salman Shahbaz, Hamza Shahbaz and others are under way. The NAB said Shahbaz made assets in the name of his wives. However, the family failed to disclose sources of their income. The NAB said it is mandatory according to the Finance Act and the Money Laundering Act to disclose sources of income.

On the other end, Shahbaz family had moved the court against the NAB’s act of freezing their assets arguing that it is illegal to freeze assets during the course of investigations. After receiving the NAB reply, the court of Jawadul Hassan summoned both parties for arguments by May 5.

It is pertinent to mention here that on December 11, 2019, an accountability court had confirmed the National Accountability Bureau Lahore’s orders to freeze the properties owned by PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, his sons Hamza Shahbaz and Salman Shahbaz and other family members in connection with an investigation involving income beyond means and money laundering. The court in its orders observed that the proportion of “the Shahbaz family wealth from 2003 to 2018 prima facie is not proportionate to the known sources of income of the accused, which has not been explained by the accused”. The judgment stated: “At this stage, even the provisions of the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992, would not be helpful to the accused party unless the sources of the said payments are disclosed by them.”

The orders also stated that the NAB orders against the Shahbaz family are supported by statements given by the approvers Muhammad Mushtaq, alias Cheeni, Yasir Mushtaq, Shahid Rafique and Aftab Mehmood. The Shahbaz family can file objection to the court orders within 14 days.

Earlier, on December 3, The National Accountability Bureau had issued orders to freeze 23 properties owned by Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza, Salman and other family members, all accused of amassing assets beyond means.