Court rejects NAB’S request to grant further remand of Shahbaz
EX-CM sent to jail; PML-N supporters clash with police in Lahore, dozens injured
ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Lahore on Thursday rejected the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) request to grant further physical remand of leader of opposition in the national assembly and pakistan Muslim League-nawaz (PML-N) President and former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and sent him to jail.
As Shahbaz was produced before the court, a commotion took place outside the after police denied lawyers entry on the purported orders of Superintendent of Police Iqrar Haider. Contingents of female oficers were also posted outside the courtroom as women tried to force their way in. The disturbance did not die down despite Shahbaz and his son Hamza’s appeals for calm during the hearing.
Several PML-N workers were arrested from outside the court building following clashes with security oficials. Reacting to the arrests, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb claimed that the party’s “peaceful workers had been arrested” and demanded their immediate release.
She said that baton charge on “our peaceful protest is proof of the government’s incompetency.” But police insisted they prevented demonstrators from trying to storm the court.
Shahbaz, who was arrested by the NAB on Oct.15, has had his remand extended multiple times — the last of which took place on Nov.28.
On expiration of this remand, he was produced before the court, with the corruption watchdog seeking another extension of his physical remand. Shahbaz will be produced before the court again on Dec.13.
Shahbaz’s lawyer Amjad Pervez told the court that details of his client’s inances from 2011 to 2017 were clearly stated in the records of his tax return. He added that tax laws did not require citizens to mention details of gifts.
He said Sharif had withdrawn money from his personal account, which is not a crime under Pakistan’s law. He argued that there was no evidence of Shahbaz spending more than his income.
“It would have been a crime if Shahbaz Sharif’s expenses had exceeded his tax returns,” Pervez said, urging the court to refuse NAB’S demand for extension of a physical remand.
He said that Shahbaz was being accused of corruption because he is a politician and a former Punjab chief minister.
NAB prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua apprised the court of the investigation’s progress and requested a further 15-day extension in physical remand.
Supporters of Shahbaz Sharif scuffle with policemen on his arrival at an accountability court in Lahore on Thursday.