Sunday Apr 18, 2021
The PML-N has expressed concern over a delay in the release on bail of party president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, despite court orders released four days ago permitting it.
A statement issued by the party, quoting spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, stated that it is shocking to see a dissenting note emerge after four days, despite the court initially approving bail and a proper announcement of the same run on television.
Aurangzeb said that it was for the "first time in history" that bail was approved by the court but the written order was not signed. "This is very painful to see," she said.
"We were going to the court to collect the written order for the past four days but were told each time that the written order is still being prepared," she said.
Aurangzeb said the bail was announced and the matter was reported on media for two to three days, besides having been posted on the Lahore High Court website.
"It is mind boggling that the entire nation saw his bail being announced on television and yet, the written order is yet to be issued."
The PML-N spokesperson questioned how "despite the chief justice having been informed of the decision, no notification was issued by the court these past four days".
"We respect the court and will continue to do so, as is the duty of every citizen. But we are aggrieved after facing this situation," she said.
Aurangzeb hoped the party will be served "complete justice". "It is our faith that those who serve the people will be provided justice and Shahbaz Sharif will be exonerated as always," she added.
Reacting to the statement, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill said that the PML-N had "itself lied" about the court's verdict on Shahbaz Sharif's bail plea.
He said the PML-N "tried to give the impression that the decision was later amended".
"PML-N's lawyers and representatives present in court know full well that the verdict was announced by the Naib Qasid and not the judge," Gill said.
The premier's aide said that the court's decisions must not be misinterpreted. He added that PTI has always respected the judiciary and its decisions and it has no influence over it.
Gill went on to detail the findings in the ongoing probe against Shahbaz in which he has been accused of money laundering and owning assets beyond known sources of income.
He said Shahbaz's total assets were Rs2.1 million in 1990 which were increased to Rs25 million in 1998 and further increased to Rs7 billion from 2008 to 2018. Similarly, he said that the total assets of Hamza Shahbaz amounted to Rs10 million in 2001 which had since gone up to Rs530 million and instead of the father, all the amounts were transferred to the son’s accounts through Telegraphic Transfer (TTs).
He said that heavy amounts were transferred to Hamza's account through 23 TTs and an amount of Rs1.5 billion was transferred to Salman Shahbaz's account in the same way.
The special assistant also said there were a total of 1,103 prisoners in Punjab who were much older than Shahbaz, adding that Shahbaz’s plea for his release on ground of being a senior citizen would be against the spirit of the Supreme Court decision about such cases of older prisoners, besides discrimination against such prisoners.
He said there were "serious cases" against Shahbaz Sharif with "solid evidence" which is why it is "difficult for him to escape the law".
On April 13, after court proceedings in a plea for release on bail by Shahbaz Sharif, it was announced that his request has been accepted.
The next day however, when the short order was released, it bore the signature of one judge and not the other.
It has emerged since then that the court order was signed by Justice Muhammad Sarfaraz Dogar, but not by Justice Asjad Gharal.
According to Justice Dogar, when the written order was handed to Justice Gharal for him to sign, he refused to do so, indicating that he will be writing a dissenting note.
He said that following the disagreement, the two each wrote a separate order and that the matter will now be forwarded to the Lahore High Court chief justice for the appointment of a referee judge.
Justice Gharal, meanwhile, said that Justice Dogar granted bail to Shahbaz. "I do not agree with his observations, reasons and results," said the judge, in his dissenting note.
He said he was "shocked to see a unanimous decision for bail in the short order".
A unanimous decision of granting bail is contrary to reality, he said, adding that he had informed the LHC chief justice of his opinion immediately.
The judge acknowledged receiving the short order requiring his signature. He said "there was no question" of this and that he "flatly refused".