No evidence of corruption against Shahbaz, Hamza: Court

A special court, in a written order confirming the pre-arrest bail of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, also mentioned that so far in the Rs16 billion money laundering case, no evidence of corruption, misuse of authority and bribery could be found against the father and son.

In a 22-page written judgment authored by Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan, the Special Central Court noted that the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) intent to arrest the premier and the chief minister was “mala fide” in nature. It also noted that the “allegation about gratification, corrupt practice, abuse of official authority, kickbacks, and commission requires further probe during the trial as at this stage cogent evidence is not available”.

The order also stated that it was not mentioned in the investigation officer’s diary that the father-son duo needed to be under custody for the probe, adding that the investigation has been completed and the charge sheet submitted.

The court noted that according to the case record, FIA claimed that a politician paid Rs14 million to Shahbaz for a party ticket, but to date, the agency has not been able to name the politician.

The court further stated that the 64 people who testified in the case did not mention Shehbaz and Hamza, and their statements did not hint at any corruption.

Detailing the history of the case, it mentioned that the accused were in custody before and had been interrogated twice, and had been summoned by the FIA after their release from the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody, which showed its ‘mala fide’ intent.

The court, in its written order, also noted that the prosecution could not prove that the accounts used to allegedly launder money were opened on Hamza’s orders, and also pointed out the disparity in the FIA’s claims and the charge sheet, wherein the previous claim of corruption of Rs25 billion was replaced with the same of Rs16 billion.