Indictment of Shehbaz Sharif in money laundering case delayed

The indictment of Pakistna Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son, former Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, in a Rs 16 billion money laundering case was delayed again on Wednesday after the two filed fresh petitions seeking acquittal in the case, media reports said.

They have already been granted pre-arrest bail in the case registered against them, Dawn reported.

A special court in Lahore had summoned the duo to frame the charges on Wednesday, however, the Prime Minister’s lawyer Amjad Pervez requested a one-day exemption from appearance for his client, citing his busy schedule in Islamabad due to flood-related activities.

PM’s counsel Pervez and Hamza’s lawyer Muhammad Aurangzeb appeared before the court.

The Premier and the former Punjab Chief Minister filed separate pleas seeking acquittal in the graft case.

“Mr Shehbaz Sharif cannot appear in court today due to important government engagements, hence the request for one day’s exemption should be granted. FIA has nominated respondents in a baseless case,” Pervez told the court, Dawn reported.

He said Pakistan had never witnessed such devastating floods. “All government departments and officials led by the Prime Minister are busy monitoring relief activities.”

The judge observed that sparing 10 minutes for a hearing was not so difficult.

The counsel responded that it was necessary for his client to visit Lahore for the hearing.

Hamza, on the other hand, showed up at the court.

The lawyers contended that there was no chance of conviction in the case and sought their clients’ acquittal from the graft case, Dawn reported.

Under court orders, the accounts of the companies had also been frozen, PM Shehbaz Sharif’s lawyer said, urging the court to issue orders to unfreeze them.

The FIA’s counsel, who was present in the hearing, told the court that the agency had no objection to unfreezing the accounts.

After hearing arguments, the court issued a notice to the FIA and sought its response.

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