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PM Shehbaz, Hamza escape indictment in money laundering case, again

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LAHORE: A Special Central Court in Lahore was unable to indict Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz in the money laundering case on Saturday as the premier is not present in the country.

Shehbaz and his sons — Hamza and Suleman — were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in November 2020 under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the PPC and 5(2) and 5(3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act.

Fourteen others were also named in the FIR under Sections 5(2) and 5(3) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

The agency had accused Shahbaz and his sons of laundering about Rs16 billion.

During today’s proceeding, CM Hamza appeared before the court to mark his attendance, however the premier was not present and filed a one-day apology through his counsel, Amjad Pervez.

The premier’s lawyer stated that his client was abroad for a “medical check-up” for his back pain issue.

“Shehbaz Sharif should have rescheduled his visit abroad as today’s hearing was not an ordinary one,” the judge remarked.

Pervez further prayed that the witnesses against his client did not mention any crime in their statements, whereas former interior minister Sheikh Rashid had forwarded the statements of the witnesses.

Extending their interim bail, the court summoned both the premier and the chief minister again on May 21 for indictment.

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