A Pakistani court on Sunday extended the interim bail of Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz until May 26 in a Rs 16 billion money laundering case.
The court issued arrest warrants for three others, including Suleman Shahbaz, Tahir Naqvi and Malik Maqsood, all of whom were declared fugitives by a magistrate court, Geo TV reported.
Special court judge Ijaz Hasan Awan adjourned the hearing till May 26.
During the hearing, the judge noticed that the police were not obeying the court order as he had summoned the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and the Station House Officer (SHO), who refused to appear in court.
According to a Geo TV report, the judge alleged that others who came to the court had to suffer because of the PM’s safety.
“I am here to uphold the dignity of the court and to uphold the law of the land,” said Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in his defense. He further added that he had asked for her safety so that no one could come to court.
PM Shehbaz’s counsel, Mohammad Amzad Parvez, argued in court that the prosecution had deleted many of the invoices filed against Shehbaz between 2008 and 2018. Thus the records presented by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) are insufficient to substantiate the allegations. He claims, against Shehbaz.
He said there was no evidence against his client to prove that he had links to a sugar mill and no share in Shahbaz’s bank account or that not a single penny from these 14 accounts had been transferred to his account in the last 10 years, Geo TV reports.
The father and son arrived at the special court on Saturday for a hearing, with Home Minister Rana Sanaullah accompanying them amid tight security around the court.
Earlier, the FIA special court had issued an order that it would indict Prime Minister Shehbaz and CM Punjab Hamza on May 14. However, it was delayed due to the Prime Minister’s visit abroad.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) filed a challan against Shehbaz and Hamza in a special court in December 2021, alleging that they were involved in laundering Rs 16 billion in a sugar scandal.
According to the FIA report submitted to the court, the investigation team “identified 28 anonymous accounts of the Shehbaz family through which money laundering of Rs 16.3 billion was carried out in 2008-18. The FIA examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions,” Geo TV reported.
The report added that the amount was kept in a “hidden account” and given to Shahbaz in personal capacity.
In November 2020, the FIA prosecuted them under the Pakistan Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act.