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Pakistan: Lahore court acquits prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, his son and wife in money laundering case

In August 2020, NAB filed an Rs 8 billion reference of money laundering against Shehbaz — who was the opposition leader at the time — his two sons and other family members

An accountability court in Lahore on Thursday acquitted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, his son Hamza Shehbaz and wife Nusrat Shehbaz in Pakistani Rupees (PKR) Rs 8 billion money laundering reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau, reported Dawn.

In August 2020, NAB filed an Rs 8 billion reference of money laundering against Shehbaz — who was the opposition leader at the time — his two sons and other family members. The court acquitted Shehbaz Sharif, all the co-accused, including his wife Nusrat Shehbaz, his daughter Javeria Ali, Hamza Shehbaz, Muhammad Usman, Masroor Anwar, Shoaib Qamar, Qasim Qayyum, Rashid Karamat, Ali Ahmed and Nisar Ahmed, except for one, according to Geo News report.

The court issued a perpetual arrest warrant for Shehbaz Sharif’s daughter Rabia Imran. As per the Geo News report, she had been declared absconder in the case.

The court’s decision comes after the accused filed petitions seeking acquittal on the basis of their argument on NAB’s inability to produce any evidence against them.

The NAB investigators have also said no evidence was found against them. While announcing the verdict, the court said that it had no other option except to acquit the accused as NAB has said they have no evidence against them.

In August 2020, the anti-graft watchdog filed the reference for the inquiry underway since 2018, Geo News reported. At the time, Shehbaz Sharif served as the leader of the opposition in the Pakistan National Assembly.

NAB arrested Shehbaz Sharif after the Lahore High Court rejected his bail in the case on September 29. An accountability court indicted Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz, and others accused on November 11, 2020. However, Shehbaz Sharif was released on bail in April 2021.

Last week, a special district court acquitted Shehbaz Sharif’s son Suleman Shehbaz and others accused in a money laundering case, Pakistan-based The Express Tribune reported.

The decision came as the district court was hearing acquittal pleas filed by Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif’s son, Suleman, and other accused in PKR Rs 16 billion money laundering case. However, the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) have earlier replied to 27 questions asked by the court, reported The Express Tribune.

During the hearing, the court asked whether the FIA had recorded any written statement by any witness during the probe to which the FIA’s investigation officer (IO) Ali Mardan remained silent. The court further asked about their actions against those who kept changing their stance during the investigation.

According to the report, the investigation officer responded that no action was taken. However, the FIA lawyer added that there was no direct evidence against Suleman regarding money laundering, The Express Tribune reported.

The court accepted the pleas submitted by the accused and acquitted Suleman and others from the case. 

(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

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