A Lahore High Court division bench on Wednesday granted pre-arrest bail to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif a day after a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) raided his Model Town residence to arrest him in cases related to money laundering and assets beyond known sources of income.
Sharif’s legal team had filed the pre-arrest bail petition on June 1, a day before he was required to appear before a combined investigation team of the NAB. However, the bail petition could not be fixed for hearing before the bench yesterday.
Yesterday, for a third time, Shehbaz had refused to appear before NAB, citing health concerns. In a statement submitted to the bureau, he said:
“It has been widely reported in the media that some NAB officials have tested positive for Covid-19.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD
“Please appreciate [that] I am a cancer survivor and and 69 years old. I have been advised limited exposure on account of the peculiar background of low immunity,” he said.
He added that he was available to answer any queries by the investigation team via Skype.
If Sharif is arrested by the NAB before the hearing, the bail petition would stand infructuous.
Petitions request LHC to allow Sharif to reach court
Earlier on Wednesday, vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Abid Saqi and Lahore High Court Bar Association Secretary Haroon Dogal submitted a petition requesting the Lahore High Court to grant Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif permission to reach the court.
The petition stated that police have “set up obstacles” on the way to the court to prevent [Shehbaz from reaching it].
Shehbaz Sharif submitted a petition for pre-arrest bail in the LHC two days ago and reaching the court [for it] is his legal right, the petitioners said.
A similar petition was also filed by Azam Nazeer Tarar, a member of the PBC.
Police deployment violation of the law: Rana Sanullah
PML-N leaders including Rana Sanaullah, Marriyum Aurangzeb and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reached the court premises ahead of the hearing. Party spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb, speaking to reporters outside the LHC, said that an “anti-people and thieving government” had been imposed upon the people.
“The person who shut the country from atop a container has frozen the entire country,” she added.
Rana Sanaullah said that Shehbaz was a “patriotic citizen and wants to get bail which is his legal right”.
He said that the deploying of heavy contingent of police outside the high court premises was a “complete violation of the law”.