The indictment of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz on Wednesday was delayed once again in an Rs16 billion money laundering case after they filed a fresh application seeking acquittal in the case.
As the proceedings commenced, PML-N leader and former Punjab chief minister Hamza appeared before the court along with his lawyer Advocate Muhammad Aurangzeb.
PM Shehbaz who could not turn up before the court moved an application through his counsel Advocate Amjad Parvez seeking a one-day exemption from personal appearance in the court due to his engagement with rescue and relief efforts in flood-affected areas in different parts of the country.
“Why could PM Shehbaz not take out ten minutes of his time to appear before this court?” asked the judge, observing that the court had already taken up this case after a gap of one month.
The judge remarked, “Shehbaz Sharif has to appear before the court just for one day.”
On it, Advocate Amjad Parvez told the court that there was a severe flood situation in the country and PM Shehbaz could not turn up before the court due to flood-relief operations.
“Shehbaz Sharif cannot appear in court today due to important engagements; therefore, the request for one day’s exemption should be allowed,” said the lawyer, while pleading to the court.
The court accepted the plea for a one-day exemption of the PM.
During the proceedings, the FIA officials presented the record of 21 bank accounts before the court and asked the court to give time to submit details of the rest of the ten accounts.
At this, the judge expressed concerns over the non-submission of the details of the ten accounts in the case. The court directed the officials of the relevant banks to appear in person on the next date of the hearing and accepted the FIA’s plea for more time for details of the bank accounts.
Meanwhile, the lawyers of both PM Shehbaz and his son Hamza moved applications before the court seeking acquittal in the case. They said that the case registered against them by the FIR was politically motivated.
They asked the court to reject the case.
Advocate Parvez, the counsel for the PM, told the court that FIA had frozen all accounts of the companies involving the case, pointing out that the companies and the directors had had separate bank accounts.
The lawyers asked the court to acquit PM Shehbaz and his son Hamza besides pleading to the court to order the authorities concerned to unfreeze the bank accounts of the companies.
The counsel representing the FIA was also present there and told the court that the agency had no objection if the accounts of the companies were unfrozen.
After hearing the arguments of both sides, Judge Awan issued notice to FIA and sought its reply. The judge also directed PM Shehbaz and his son to ensure their presence before the court for indictment in the case.
The hearing was subsequently adjourned until September 17.
Meanwhile, a major development took place in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case after an accountability court seized the hearing of the case and sent the same reference back to National Accountability Bureau (NAB), holding that now it did not come under its jurisdiction.
The NAB court announced the verdict under the newly passed NAB Ordinance 2022.
During the hearing, the counsel for PM Shehbaz argued on the maintainability of the reference in light of the newly passed NAB Ordinance 2022. The lawyer contended that the said case was about an amount less than Rs500 million and hence, it did not come under its jurisdiction.
After hearing the arguments of the Sharifs’ lawyer, the court sent the reference back to the anti-corruption watchdog.