Pak PM Shehbaz, son Hamza file acquittal pleas in money laundering case

The counsel sought a one-time exemption from appearance for the Premier, saying he could not attend Wednesday's proceedings as he was busy in flood relief activities.
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif (Photo | AFP)
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif (Photo | AFP)

LAHORE: The indictment of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son and former Punjab chief minister Hamza Shehbaz was delayed on Wednesday in a multi-million dollar money laundering case after they filed fresh petitions, seeking their acquittal.

As the special court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was to indict the father and son in PKR 14 billion money laundering case on Wednesday, their counsel told the court that their clients have filed a petition for their acquittal.

The counsel also sought a one-time exemption from appearance for the Premier, saying he could not attend Wednesday's proceedings as he was busy in flood relief activities.

Judge Ijaz Hasan Awan questioned the counsel that the Prime Minister could not spare 10 minutes for a hearing.

On this counsel, Amjad Pervaiz said the Premier would try to ensure his presence in the next hearing.

On this, the judge adjourned the proceedings till September 17 for argument on their acquittal plea.

Talking to reporters after the hearing, the counsel said since the 70-year-old Premier and his 48-year-old son have filed for their acquittal, the court proceedings for their indictment can't be held.

"Now the court will first give ruling on Prime Minister Shehbaz and his son's acquittal," he said.

Both the Premier and his son are on pre-arrest bail in this case.

The court has already declared Shehbaz's younger son, Suleman Shehbaz, a proclaimed offender in the case.

PM Shehbaz and his sons Hamza (former Punjab chief minister) and Suleman have been booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Anti Money Laundering Act for allegedly committing over Rs 14 billon money laundering.

Suleman has been absconding in the UK since 2019. Shehbaz often says Suleman looks after the family business there.

The Prime Minister had told the court in an earlier hearing that the "day of judgement may arrive but FIA will not be able to prove even a rupee worth of corruption against me."

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