Friday Apr 16 2021

Why has Shahbaz Sharif's release on bail been delayed?

In a strange turn of events, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has yet to be released by jail authorities on bail, despite having been cleared for bail by the court.

His release, it emerged on Friday, has been delayed owing to the absence of a signature by one of the judges of the two-member bench that heard the proceedings in relation to a case filed by the National Accountability Bureau in which Shahbaz Sharif has been accused of laundering money owning assets beyond known sources of income.

On April 13, the two-member bench had approved Shahbaz's release on bail, subject to his furnishing two bail bond sureties of Rs5 million each.  When the short order of the court was released on April 14, it bore the signature of one judge and not the other.

The court order, according to Geo News, has been signed by Justice Muhammad Sarfaraz Dogar, but not by Justice Asjad Gharal.

Owing to the absence of one signature, the bail bonds could not be submitted.

Sources have told Geo News that a dissenting note by Justice Gharal is about to come to the fore. Legal experts say that when this happens, the matter will go forward to the Lahore High Court chief justice and he will appoint a referee judge.

Shahbaz was taken into custody by NAB on September 28, 2020.