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NAB arrests Hamza Shehbaz

LAHORE, June 11 (WNP): National Accountability Bureau Tuesday arrested Punjab opposition leader Hamza Shehbaz after he withdrew his applications for bail in two corruption cases.

Hamza, who appeared before the court during this day hearing, is facing inquiries in the cases related to Punjab Saaf Pani Company, Ramzan Sugar Mills, money laundering and assets beyond means.

His arrest comes a day after former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari was arrested by NAB in Islamabad.

On April 5, the accountability watchdog had failed in its bid to arrest Hamza — in a case of money laundering and owning assets beyond means — as it faced strong resistance from the Sharif family’s security men as well as PML-N supporters.

On April 6, NAB faced another embarrassing day as its second attempt to arrest the PML-N leader remained unsuccessful. The five-hour siege of PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif’s Model Town residence by the Lahore NAB and police ended after the LHC restrained the bureau from arresting Hamza, granting him protective bail.

On May 28, a bench of the court — comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem — recused itself from hearing the case after Hamza had personally told the bench that he had reservations on the bench since NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal made the bail proceedings controversial by discussing them in a recent interview to the media.

Hamza had said the bureau’s chairman in his interview claimed to have influenced the formation of the bench. He had requested the bench to not proceed with the matter to protect integrity of the courts.

On May 29, LHC Chief Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan had entrusted proceedings on the bail petition of Hamza to another division bench comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Waheed Khan.

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