By News Desk
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will challenge the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) verdict allowing Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif to leave the country for medical treatment, government ministers have announced.
After hinting at using “all legal options” to prevent Shahbaz from going abroad, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Accountability Shahzad Akbar held a news conference on Sunday in which they said the government would file an appeal against the LHC granted one-time permission to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president to travel abroad.
Akbar said the court was not properly assisted in the case and there were “sufficient grounds” to challenge the verdict.
“Shahbaz Sharif’s name exists in Provisional National Identification List (PNIL), which is separate from the blacklist,” Akbar said. A day earlier, Shahbaz was prevented from boarding a Doha-bound plane, as government officials said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had not received a request from the PML-N chief to remove him from a travel blacklist despite court orders.
Akbar said there were contradictions in Shahbaz’s bail permission. Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, he said: “Our point to challenge the Lahore High Court’s decision is that according to Supreme Court judgment, PLD 2019, the law prohibits conclusion on merits of the case as it leads to prejudice.”
Documentary evidence of Shahbaz’s “corruption” containing 55 volumes were already in the courts, he said, and castigated the PML-N leadership for “misleading the people that Shahbaz’s corruption has not been proved”. He hoped the Sharifs would have to answer their “large-scale plundering”. “The supreme leader of PML-N, Nawaz Sharif, had already been declared absconder by court of law. Every Pakistani citizen is bound under the law to help implementing court orders of bringing back the proclaimed offender to force him to surrender himself before the law,” he said.
Akbar said in the corruption case against Shahbaz, some 13 witnesses have so far testified against him out of a total of 100 witnesses. The remaining will also testify subsequently, he added.
Criticising the PML-N “mantra” that there is no evidence against Shahbaz, he quoted a NAB ordinance which says having assets beyond means by a public office holder “is sufficient evidence of his corruption”.
“Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif have miserably failed to share their sources of income for purchasing billions of pounds property abroad,” he said. “The court of public opinion should ask Shahbaz Sharif who were ‘Manzoor Paparwala’ and others who transferred billions of rupees in their accounts through TT.” “Due their large scale money laundering Pakistan has been pushed into [FATF] grey list,” he claimed.
Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry asked how the government could trust Shahbaz’s guarantee to return to the country when was unable to ensure the return of Nawaz Sharif. “The question is how can Shahbaz Sharif’s guarantee be accepted when he could not fulfil another absconder’s guarantee?
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