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Shahbaz’s pre-arrest bail plea to be taken up today

Shahbaz’s pre-arrest bail plea to be taken up today

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench will take up on Wednesday (today) a pre-arrest bail petition by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday raided his Model Town residence to arrest him in investigation into the assets beyond means case.

The legal team of Mr Sharif had filed the petition on June 1, a day before he was required to appear before a combine investigation team of the NAB. However, the petition could not be fixed for hearing before the division bench constituted to hear NAB-related pleas, and Mr Shahbaz did not appear before the bureau either.

If Sharif is arrested by the NAB before the hearing, the bail petition would stand infructuous. Otherwise, he will attend the proceedings before the LHC on Wednesday as any person seeking pre-arrest bail in a case has to appear before the court concerned.

The petition of the PML-N president is second in the cause list of urgent cases before the bench comprising Justice Muhammad Tariq Abbasi and Justice Farooq Haider. It stated that the petitioner was arrested on Oct 5, 2018, in other cases (Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme) and was in NAB custody when the impugned inquiry into assets was authorised on Oct 23.

The petitioner was thoroughly investigated regarding all his assets and the bureau officials could not confront him with any evidence to suggest any nexus of misuse or abuse of office with the amassing of any assets. Sharif extended full cooperation and furnished whatever information was required by the bureau and his intended arrest at this stage was nothing but sheer mala fide.

“Any move to arrest the petitioner at this juncture smacks volumes of mala fide on part of the prosecution,” the petition added.

It further pleaded that the petitioner had been regularly declaring his assets before the authorities concerned. Being a 69-year-old cancer survivor, Sharif stated in the petition, he had been advised restricted movement and limited exposure due to life-threatening risks on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020

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