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A special court in Lahore on Saturday extended till Oct 30 the pre-arrest bail of Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz in the money laundering case.

Shehbaz and Hamza are facing Rs25 billion money laundering charges in the sugar scandal. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had booked them in the case under sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act in November 2020.

Shehbaz is accused of aiding and abetting his sons Hamza and Salman in amassing wealth (pecuniary resources) disproportionate to their known sources of income.

The court had last granted them two weeks bail on Sep 25.

At the hearing today, Moazzam Habib represented the FIA and informed the court that Shehbaz had submitted his reply to a questionnaire sent to him by the agency.

He told the court that the respondent’s reply was yet to be examined.

The judge remarked that the FIA had been seeking time for quite some time and that the case was filed a while ago.

The defendant’s counsel Amjad Pervez said his clients were cooperating with the FIA in every possible way. He said the case probe should have been wrapped within 14 days under the law, “But the FIA has spent 11 months investigating the case,” he said.

The FIA representative replied that it was a major case, adding that the agency was “checking the transactions”. He also raised objections to the jurisdiction of the court, expressing that a banking court was not entitled to hear the case.

At this, the court asked the lawyer to make his argument on the jurisdiction of the court in the next hearing.

Shehbaz requested the judge to hold the next hearing after a considerable gap, saying he had to attend an upcoming session of the National Assembly. The court deferred the hearing till Oct 30.

Abdul Gh Lone

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