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NAB granted 14-day physical remand of Shehbaz in money laundering case

LAHORE, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 (WNP/DL): An accountability court in Lahore on Tuesday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) a 14-day physical remand of PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, a day after he was arrested by the anti-graft body in a money laundering case.

On Monday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected Shehbaz’s bail plea, after which he was taken into custody from the court’s premises, where a large number of PML-N workers and supporters had gathered ahead of the hearing.

Accountability judge Jawadul Hassan presided over the hearing today, during which Shehbaz also spoke. He alleged that a mockery was being made of the law. “This is the NAB-Niazi nexus [in play],” he added.

He said that his parents had worked hard and established the business, which he had then transferred to his children. “I do not take any salary or bonus. An allegation was leveled against me that my children benefited because of my [government] office.

“I submitted five documents in the Lahore High Court yesterday. We did not reduce the price of sugarcane in Punjab and I did not cause harm to the growers. I did not give any subsidy to my children’s sugar mills from the treasury.

“My decisions caused a loss of millions of rupees to my brother (Nawaz Sharif) and to my son. I am a transgressor [but even] the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that a father is not responsible for his son and vice versa.”

The judge asked him how much had the national treasury benefited from the decisions he made while he was in office to which Shehbaz replied that it was in “billions”.

The PML-N president said that he had fixed excise duty of Rs2 on ethanol in 2011, adding that he had decided to impose the duty even though his son was setting up an ethanol plant.

“Rs2.5bn were deposited in the national treasury because of that,” he told the court.

He said that his father had migrated to Pakistan from India and set up six factories within 18 months. “These properties are from that time,” he said.

He said that he was “declaring under oath that he had not benefited from any scheme for the repayment of loans and that he had never used his office wrongfully”.

“I did not take a salary of even one rupee in three decades or any ta-da,” he claimed, adding that he also used to pay for his personal assistant’s lodgings during his stays abroad.

During the proceedings, the court also directed that Shehbaz’s performance report be made part of the case.

NAB’s counsel, Asim Mumtaz, requested the court to grant the accountability body 15-day physical remand of Shehbaz.

“Shehbaz has himself said that his children depend on him. We asked him questions last night but he outright refused to answer them.”

The court, however, granted a 14-day physical remand which would expire on October 13.

Meanwhile, the court accepted Shehbaz’s daughter Javeria’s petition for permanent exemption from court hearings.

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