LHC grants Shehbaz Sharif pre-arrest bail till June 17

A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Wednesday granted pre-arrest bail till June 17 to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif , a day after a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team raided his residence to arrest him in connection with cases relating to money laundering and keeping assets beyond known sources of income.

During the hearing, Sharif’s lawyers claimed that even though he was summoned by the NAB on Tuesday, the warrants were dated May 28, implying that the watchdog had already decided to arrest him. To this, NAB’s counsel responded by saying that the warrants were issued when there was enough evidence to make an arrest, Dawn reported.

Granting Sharif bail till June 17, the court also asked him to submit a surety bond of Rs 500,000.

Sharif’s legal team had filed the pre-arrest bail petition on June 1, a day before he was required to appear before an investigation team of the NAB. However, the bail petition could not be fixed for hearing before the bench on Tuesday.

Also for a third time, Sharif on Tuesday refused to appear before the NAB, citing health concerns.

In a statement submitted to the bureau, he said: “It has been widely reported in the media that some NAB officials have tested positive for COVID-19.”

“Please appreciate (that) I am a cancer survivor and 69 years old. I have been advised limited exposure on account of the peculiar background of low immunity,” he said.

He added that he was available to answer any queries by the investigation team via Skype.

Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Abid Saqi and Lahore High Court Bar Association Secretary Haroon Dogal submitted a petition requesting the Lahore High Court to grant Sharif permission to reach the court.

The petition said police had “set up obstacles” on the way to the court to prevent (Sharif from reaching it).

A similar petition was also filed by Azam Nazeer Tarar, a member of the PBC.