Pakistan

PM Shehbaz, Hamza file acquittal pleas in money laundering case


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son former chief minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz filed acquittal pleas on Wednesday in the money laundering case.

In the plea, submitted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Special Central Court Lahore, the PM and Hamza have stated that the FIA created the case for political revenge. Thus, the case should be dismissed.

Lawyers of both the petitioners argued that their company accounts have also been frozen on the order of the court, and further requested the court to pass an order to unfreeze them.

To this the FIA's lawyer stated that the agency has no objection to unfreezing the accounts of the companies.

The court directed the FIA to respond to the acquittal pleas by September 17.

During today's proceedings, Hamza appeared before the court while a request seeking immunity from appearance for today's hearing was made on behalf of the prime minister.

Read Imran accuses PM Shehbaz of influencing money laundering cases

The premier's lawyer, Amjad Pervaiz, argued that the premier could not appear in the court due to him visiting flood-affected areas.

While accepting the request for absence, the court inquired, “Can't he [PM Shehbaz] appear in the court for 10 minutes? This case has been scheduled after a  month. It is not ongoing on a daily basis.”

The accountability court accepted the premier's request to excuse his appearance, and adjourned the proceedings till September 20.

Earlier this year, a key witness of the money laundering case, popularly referred to as Maqsood Chaprasi, passed away due to a cardiac arrest.

Maqsood was living abroad and was made party to the case after money was allegedly found to have been transferred into his account during an investigation into claims of money laundering by the Sharif family.

The FIA had registered a case against the premier, and his sons Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, the former Punjab CM, and Suleman Shehbaz in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of prevention of corruption act and r/w 3/4 of the anti-money laundering act.


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