Hamza Shahbaz Sharif released from Kot Lakhpat jail

LAHORE: PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz was released from the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore after 20 months.

Hamza’s release orders were issued by the accountability court’s duty judge after two surety bonds of Rs one million each was verified.

PML-N vice president Mohtarma Maryam Nawaz Sharif arrived outside Kot Lakhpat Jail where she received her cousin flanked by thousands of supporters.

PML-N workers also gathered outside the jail to welcome Hamza Shehbaz Sharif.

Earlier in a press conference, Maryam said, “There is no doubt that Hamza Shehbaz is our party worker who has been serving us relentlessly. We are each other’s helping hands and we will perform the responsibilities given to us.”

This comes as, Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday granted bail to the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif in assets beyond means case.

A two-judge bench of the high court has directed to release the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader from the Kot Lakhpat Jail.

The court approved his bail after hearing arguments from Hamza’s lawyers and the NAB prosecutor.

The NAB prosecutor requested the high court to dismiss the PML-N MPA’s bail stating he amassed more assets than his sources of income justified besides being involved in money laundering.

Meanwhile, Hamza’s lawyer Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar and Amjad Pervez stating that their client was arrested in the assets beyond means and money laundering case on June 11, 2019. The corruption watchdog filed the reference in the case after fourteen months since his arrest while he was indicted 16 months later, they added.

“Keeping an accused in detention for a longer period is akin to awarding his sentence even before the conclusion of the trial,” the lawyers contended and pleaded with the court to order their client’s release on bail.

The provincial opposition leader has been granted bail over two surety bonds of Rs one million each. The court further ordered that Hamza be set free if he is not required to be detained in any other case.

Hamza was arrested by NAB on June 11, 2019, in Ramzan sugar mills, money laundering and assets beyond means cases after LHC turned down his applications for extension in interim bail.

On November 11, 2020, Hamza Shehbaz Sharif and his father Mian Shehbaz Sharif were indicted in a money-laundering reference by the accountability court.

Previously, the Supreme Court (SC) dismissed the bail plea of PML-N Hamza Shahbaz in a money laundering case.

According to details, the plea was disposed of after Hamza Shahbaz withdrew it. Justice Yahya Afridi, during the hearing, remarked that the issue which has not been raised in high court cannot be directly taken to the SC. The accused should better approach the high court after the report of the accountability court, he said.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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