Lahore Special Court (Central-I) has summoned Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Sharif in connection with the PKR 16 billion money laundering case. Sharif 70, and his sons Hamza, 47, and Suleman, 40 were given pre-arrest bail on charges of money laundering crime in June and the special court ruled that there was “no evidence” retrieved to build a case against Pakistan’s leader and his sons to establish “corruption, misuse of authority, and bribery.” The court, however, has now summoned the father-son duo on Sept 7 for framing these charges and has adjourned the hearing till that date, Islamabad’s Dawn newspaper reported on July 30.
Sharif’s son Suleman Shehbaz is being termed as an absconder and is being reported to have fled to the UK. There are at least 14 officials who have also been named in the FIR related to corruption and money laundering. Pakistan’s Sharif had sought a one-time exemption on his sons’ behalf. Earlier, the Lahore court had ruled that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had “mala fide” intentions for arresting Hamza and PM Shehbaz, according to Geo News. It added that the agency launched the investigation while Pakistan’s current Prime Minister and his sons were in the NAB’s custody and were interrogated on January 8, 2021. Once they were let go by the NAB, the FIA had asked them to appear before it for further questioning. The agency had also submitted a challan against Shehbaz and Hamza for their alleged involvement in a sugar scam case.
As the summon has been issued, Shehbaz Sharif’s lawyer stated that he had been advised “not to travel,” although adding that this is due to his bad health. “The weather was unpleasant yesterday which is why he did not come today.” In December last year, as FIA interrogated Pakistan’s leader, it issued a statement saying that the investigative team has detected 28 Benami accounts in the name of Shehbaz’s family “through which money laundering of Rs16.3bn was committed during 2008-18. The FIA examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions.”
The amount was received by Shehbaz Sharif “in a personal capacity” and there was no record of it, FIA had noted in a report. “Eleven low-paid employees of the Sharif group who ‘held and possessed’ the laundered proceeds on behalf of the principal accused, are found guilty of facilitating money laundering. The three other co-accused of the Sharif group also actively facilitated the money laundering,” the agency further stated.