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EditorialAcquittal of PM Shehbaz, Hamza

Acquittal of PM Shehbaz, Hamza

The goddess of luck has been smiling on the Sharif family since the toppling of the Imran Khan government and the formation of the coalition government in April last. First, it was Maryam Nawaz’s acquittal in the Avenfield case, and now in a Rs16 billion money laundering case, a special court in Lahore has ruled Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza Shehbaz, innocent. Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan read out the brief decision, which had been reserved earlier in the day. Surprisingly, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which had been fighting the case for three years, told the judge that they had no proof of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son’s role in the billion rupee transactions that landed in their bank accounts from unknown accounts. Suleman Shehbaz, a third accused, has been branded a proclaimed offender by the court due to his consistent absence from the trial hearings.

The case dates back to 2021 when the FIA filed a challan against (now PM) Shehbaz and Hamza in a special court in December 2021 for their alleged role in laundering Rs16 billion in the sugar scam case, saying their investigative team discovered 28 benami accounts of the Shehbaz family, through which Rs16.3 billion in money laundering was perpetrated between 2008 and 2018. According to an FIA report provided to the court, the FIA reviewed the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions. Now when the case is over, society should reflect what went wrong in the case. If the case was filed on the wrong footing, there should be the accountability of the FIA officials, otherwise, the hands which turned the tide should be identified. The fact which will never change is that billion rupees landed in the accounts of PM Shehbaz and his son, Hamza Shehbaz. They should be happy to have their money legalized.

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