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Fear of arrest: Shahbaz moves LHC for bail, also summoned by NAB for today

Top Story

June 2, 2020

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif on Monday approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking pre-arrest bail in the assets beyond means and money-laundering inquiries by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The opposition leader in the National Assembly, through his lawyer Azam Nazir Tarar, moved the bail petition, making NAB chairman and others respondents. A two-member bench, comprising Justice Tariq Abbasi and Justice Farooq Haider, will hear the case today (Tuesday), while the accused has already been summoned by the Bureau for the same day.

Shahbaz stated in his petition that the corruption watchdog’s assets beyond means inquiry against him was based on mala fide intentions as it had been initiated against him at the behest of the incumbent government. Shahbaz stated that the Bureau levelled charges against him without any shred of evidence as he had been declaring his assets regularly. He said he was also arrested in the same case in 2018 and he had fully cooperated with NAB investigators. But it did not present any proof against him relating to misuse of powers or money-laundering, etc.

Shahbaz’s lawyer stated that his client had been declaring his assets since he stepped in to politics in 1988 and nothing had been concealed ever. He refuted money-laundering allegations, saying the whole story was fabricated and concocted.

He added that during an inquiry or investigation, NAB could not invoke the provisions of anti-money laundering law. He said allegations against him were of documentary nature and all necessary documents had already been provided to the Bureau. He said that he feared that NAB might arrest him in connection with its pending inquiries, which would hinder him from performing his duties as the opposition leader in the National Assembly. He pleaded with the high court to grant him pre-arrest bail.

The Bureau had summoned Shahbaz for June 2 (today) to record his statement regarding details of properties inherited by him. The Bureau said from 1998 to 2018, Shahbaz’s family assets grew exponentially. As a public office-holder, Shahbaz needs to explain the increase in his assets, NAB added. It also asked Shahbaz to submit bank details along with the loans taken from Barclays Bank from 2005 to 2007. Furthermore, NAB also sought details of all gifts received and given by the family, details of agriculture income from 2008 to 2019 and details about utilisation of Shahbaz’s Model Town residence as Chief Minister’s camp office.