Thursday Jul 16 2020

LHC extends Shehbaz Sharif's interim bail till July 23

Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif (C) arrives at the High Court in Lahore on July 16, 2020. — AFP/Arif Ali

 LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday extended the interim bail granted to the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, till July 23, in the assets beyond means case against him.

The court accepted the PML-N leader’s plea to have his bail extended and agreed to postpone the hearing of the case on Shehbaz’s request as his lawyer was not present.

Speaking to media after his court appearance, the PML-N president said he was not feeling well due to his illness. “I came because I respect the court. Politics is being played at my expense,” he said regarding the case.

During the last hearing on July 7, Shehbaz’s counsel Amjad Pervez had told the court that the PML-N leader had tested negative for the virus.

“Shehbaz Sharif is 69 years old and his antibodies test is necessary,” said Tarar, the other counsel for the PML-N president. He added that people after recovering from the virus witnessed pain for five more days, adding that his client has also complained of the same.

Tarar had requested the court to extend the bail granted to Shehbaz for three more weeks as the lawyers wanted their client to appear before the court himself.

The court had adjourned the hearing and gave time to the lawyers to consult their client and take instructions from him.

Shehbaz says NAB inquiry against him based on 'mala fide intentions' 

Earlier, Shehbaz had said last month in his bail petition that the corruption watchdog’s assets beyond means inquiry against him was based on mala fide intentions as it had been initiated at the behest of the incumbent government. He added that the Bureau levelled charges against him without any shred of evidence as he had been declaring his assets regularly.

The PML-N leader added he was also arrested in the same case in 2018 and he had fully cooperated with NAB investigators, however, the anti-graft body did not present any proof against him relating to misuse of powers or money-laundering, etc.

Shehbaz’s lawyer stated that his client had been declaring his assets since he stepped into politics in 1988 and nothing had been concealed ever. He refuted money-laundering allegations, saying the whole story was fabricated and concocted.

He added that during an inquiry or investigation, NAB could not invoke the provisions of anti-money laundering law, adding that allegations against him were of a documentary nature and all necessary documents had already been provided to the Bureau. Shehbaz had further stated that he feared that NAB might arrest him in connection with its pending inquiries, which would hinder him from performing his duties as the opposition leader in the National Assembly.