Hamza Shehbaz freed from jail after 20 months

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LAHORE – PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz was released from jail after 20 months in a case related to money laundering allegations.

An accountability court judge ordered the release of the Leader of Opposition in National Assembly after his surety bonds for bail were verified by the court.

The opposition partied had set up welcome points at different points in the city to receive Hamza Shehbaz Sharif.

Furthermore, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz also arrived outside Kot Lakhpat Jail to receive her cousin, who was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in cases related to money-laundering and asset beyond means case.

On Feb 25, Hamza Shehbaz secured bail in a money laundering case around 20 months of his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) granted him against surety bonds after anti-graft buster’s counsel completed his arguments in today’s hearing.

The high court was hearing second petition filed by Hamza, seeking post-arrest bail in NAB reference involving charges of money laundering and asset beyond means. His first petition had been turned down in February 2020.

The PML-N leader had moved the LHC again after the Supreme Court of Pakistan rejected his petition for relief and directed him to approach the high court for bail.

In the petition, the counsel for Hamza highlighted inordinate delay in trial of his client stating that the PML-N leader was arrested in June,2019 and reference against him was filed in August 2020. He added that Hamza Shehbaz was indicted in November 2020.

He argued that his client deserved bail on the basis of delay in the case alone.

In counter arguments, NAB’s lawyer opposed the bail, besides revealing that Hamza held assets worth a few hundred thousands in 2003 but it swelled to Rs523 million in 2018.

He added that the accused was sough reply on the matter various times but he failed to do so, adding that the NAB filed the reference after completing its investigation in 2020.

He also displayed a chart chronicles his alleged money laundering. He claimed that TTs were sent in the name of Nusrat Shehbaz, Hamza Shehbaz, Rabiya Imran, Javeria Ali, and Salman Shehbaz.

The counsel said that Hamza and Salman Shehbaz made investment in various businesses after receiving the TTs. invested [the money] in different ventures.”

After hearing the arguments, the bench granted bail to Hamza Shehbaz against surety bonds worth Rs1 million in each case.

The PML-N has termed the decision a victory.