Tue, 12 Dec 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], December 9 (ANI): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday issued orders barring authorities from arresting Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's son Suleman Shehbaz after he reaches the country. The court's order came during the hearing of Suleman's plea for bail in a money laundering case, The News International reported.

The Islamabad High Court directed Suleman Shehbaz to surrender before the court by December 13. The decision of the court comes after Suleman Shehbaz requested the IHC through his lawyer Amjad Pervaiz seeking two-week protective bail in a money laundering case as he had decided to end his London exile, as per The News International report. He had requested the court to grant him bail so that he could appear before the court after he arrives in PakistanDuring the hearing in the court, Suleman Shehbaz's lawyer Amjad Pervaiz told the court that his client has been living in abroad since October 2018 and all the cases against him have been filed after that. The court told Pervaiz that they cannot issue bail in the absence of the petitioner. Amjad Pervaiz requested the court to stop the authorities from arresting Suleman Shehbaz.

Pervaiz informed the court that Suleman Shehbaz will arrive in Islamabad on December 11 and also submitted his ticket in the court. The court agreed to the lawyer's request and ordered Suleman to appear before the bench on December 13, as per the news report. Furthermore, the court directed authorities to not arrest Suleman Shehbaz after he arrives in Pakistan.

Notably, Suleman Shehbaz is set to travel to Pakistan along with his wife and children after ending his exile of more than four years in London. He had travelled to London before the 2018 general elections when the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed several cases against him. His name also emerged in other cases along with his father Shehbaz Sharif, his brother Hamza Shehbaz and other members of the Sharif family.

Suleman Shehbaz was investigated in London by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) in a money-laundering and misuse of public office case at the request of the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU), led by Shahzad Akbar, a former accountability aide to Imran Khan. However, UK's top anti-corruption sleuths gave him a clean chit after two years of the probe.

Suleman Shehbaz has claimed that he was forced to leave Pakistan after fake cases were registered against him to facilitate a new political order. He said he was left with no option other than to leave Pakistan "for safety" under unfair circumstances.

In a statement, he said that these cases registered against him were the "worst example of a political witch-hunt and political victimisation," as per The News International report. He said that there no was no truth in the cases "cooked up" by the National Accountability Bureau under the former NAB chairman Javed Iqbal and the Assets Recovery Unit. He said that there was no chance of justice at that time, adding that the "whole system was based on injustice.""The former NAB chairman was blackmailed through a relationship scandal and scandalous videos by the previous regime in order to frame cases against me and my family," The News International quoted Suleman Shehbaz as saying in a statement.

"He was told that he would be kicked out of the job if he didn't frame these cases to provide non-stop lies to the media to assassinate our character. We will never wish this kind of cruelty to even our worst enemies in politics," he added.

In 2020, the FIA registered a case against then-opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif and his sons Hamza and Suleman, The Express Tribune reported. In December 2021, the FIA submitted a challan against Shehbaz and Hamza over their alleged involvement in a Rs 16 billion money laundering case. However, a special central court in October acquitted Prime Minister Shehbaz and his son Hamza Shehbaz in the Rs16 billion money laundering case. (ANI)

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