A Pakistani court on Wednesday granted bail to Opposition leader and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, eight months after he was arrested in Rs 7 billion (USD 41.9 million) money laundering and assets beyond means cases.
As no other case is pending against him in the court, 69-year-old Shahbaz, who served as chief minister of Punjab from 2008 to 2018, will be freed from the Kot Lakhpat jail Lahore following his bail in both cases.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) granted bail to the younger brother of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif after hearing arguments from the defence and prosecution.
The court directed Shahbaz to submit two surety bonds worth PKR 5 million each.
The country’s anti-graft body – National Accountability Bureau – had alleged that Shahbaz’s family had assets of around PKR 16.5 million till 1990, which increased to over PKR 7 billion in 2018 which were disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The NAB has already file a case against Shahbaz in the accountability court. Shahbaz’s counsel told the court that since no investigation was pending against him in these cases as the NAB had already filed a case against him, he should be granted bail.
Shabaz is accused of beneficiary of assets held in the name of his family members and ‘benamidars’ (in whose name a benami property is standing) who had no sources to acquire such assets.
Benami properties are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased.
NAB says: “Shahbaz and other suspects committed offences of corruption and corrupt practices as envisaged under the provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and money laundering as delineated in the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.”
A total of 20 people had been nominated in the case. The other main suspects are Shahbaz’s wife Nusrat, his sons Hamza (Leader of Opposition in Punjab) and Suleman (who is absconding in the UK), and his daughters Rabia Imran and Javeria Ali.
Three-time prime minister of Pakistan Sharif has been in London since November 2019 on ‘medical grounds’.
The Imran Khan government has declared Sharif an absconder and cancelled his passport. Sharif left the country after the court granted him bail in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was undergoing seven years imprisonment in Kot Lakhpat jail Lahore.
He was also granted four-week bail on medical grounds to have his treatment abroad. The government declared him an absconder after he failed to justify prolonging his stay in London.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)