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Shehbaz, Hamza to be indicted on May 14 in money laundering case

LHC dismisses as withdrawn Maryam Nawaz's plea seeking return of her passport

Special Court Central-I on Wednesday summoned Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister-elect Hamza Shahbaz for May 14 for their indictment in Rs16 billion money laundering case, with directions to the accused to ensure their presence before the court. Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan was hearing the case and observed that no further adjournment would be given in the case. “Charges shall be framed and all the accused shall ensure their personal attendance on the next date of hearing,” read the written order issued by the judge. During the proceedings, the counsels for Shehbaz Sharif moved an application seeking his client’s exemption from personal appearance. They said the PM was busy due to a cabinet meeting in Islamabad, so he could not appear before the court on Wednesday. The court accepted the plea but observed, “The indictment could not be made owing to the absence of the prime minister.”

The judge made it clear that there was no possibility of further adjournments in the case and directed Shehbaz Sharif and all other accused to ensure their presence in the court. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had booked Shehbaz Sharif and his sons, Hamza and Suleman, in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

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On the other hand, the Lahore High Court dismissed as withdrawn the petition of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, seeking the return of her passport to travel to Saudi Arabia. A division bench headed by Ali Baqar Najafi and including Justice Sardar Ahmed Naeem heard the case. As the proceedings commenced, Maryam Nawaz’s lawyer Advocate Amjad Pervaiz appeared before the court and submitted that he wanted to withdraw the petition on the instructions of his client. “We will argue through another petition she had filed earlier seeking one-time permission to travel abroad for six weeks for the purpose of extra care of Mian Nawaz Sharif,” said the counsel. At this, the bench dismissed the petition as withdrawn. Staff Report

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