Three-member bench unanimously approves his pre-arrest bail
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif will be released soon after a three-member bench of the Lahore High Court unanimously approved on Thursday his bail in the money laundering case.
He has been ordered to submit Rs5 million surety bonds. The bench, comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, Justice Aalia Neelum, and Justice Shahbaz Rizvi, was formed after an earlier bench had given a split ruling in the case.
On April 14, the court staff had announced “bail is allowed” while the PML-N leaders were waiting for the judgement. They celebrated the verdict, but Shehbaz could not be released due to the delay in the written order.
Justice Sardar Mohammad Sarfraz Dogar approved the bail, while Justice Asjad Javed Ghural wrote a dissenting note in the written verdict issued on April 17.
Justice Ghural accused his senior colleague of issuing a short order ‘unilaterally’. He remarked, “It is shocking for me to observe here that it has been mentioned in the beginning paragraph of the said order that unanimous order qua grant of bail to the petitioner was announced, which is against the ground reality.”
During the court hearing on Thursday, the NAB prosecutor claimed that Shehbaz’s wife Nusrat Shahbaz owns assets worth Rs299 million, adding that she received 26 telegraphic transfers (TTs) in her account.
He said that Salman Shahbaz owns assets worth Rs2.25 billion, and he received 159 TTs worth Rs1.60 billion in his account.
Azam Nazeer Tarar and Amjad Pervaiz, who were representing Shahbaz, told the court that their client did not receive any TT in his account.
Speaking to the media outside the court, PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah said that the PTI government will stay in power for a few days now. They surrendered the writ of the state and no one trusts them now. “This country needs free and fair elections without any interference.”
NAB has accused Shehbaz of laundering money and owning more assets than his known sources of income
The evidence collected revealed that Shehbaz and his sons Hamza Shahbaz and Suleman Shahbaz and wife Nusrat Shahbaz had net assets of Rs14.8 million in 1998, according to the accountability bureau.
Shehbaz in “connivance with his other family members/benamidars accumulated assets to the tune of Rs7,328 million till 2018”.
The amount is “disproportionate to known sources of income and for which neither the accused nor his other family members/benamidars could reasonably account for.”
Shehbaz’s lawyer had, however, argued that a reference has been filed and investigation completed, adding that all questionnaires mentioned by NAB have been answered too.