LHC issues notice to NAB for Feb 17 on Hamza’s bail plea

LAHORE (APP): The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday issued notices to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities
for February 17 on a bail petition filed by Opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz in assets beyond means and money-laundering case. The two-member bench headed by Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar heard the post-arrest petition filed by Hamza Shehbaz.
Advocates Azam Nazir Tarar and Amjad Pervaiz represented Hamza Shehbaz before the court and stated that the bureau launched investigations against their client and his family members over charges of assets beyond means and money-laundering. They submitted that the bureau arrested Hamza on June 11, 2019, whereas, he remained on physical remand for 84 days. They submitted that the LHC dismissed post arrest bail petition filed by Hamza on February 20, 2020 and the
LHC verdict was assailed before the Apex court through an appeal. They submitted that during the pendency of the appeal, NAB chairman filed reference against Hamza and 15 other accused in the accountability court, whereas it consisted of 58 volumes and 110 prosecution witnesses were cited in the calendar.
The counsel submitted that during the pendency of the appeal, it transpired that certain new grounds had become available to urge before the high court after the trial court informed the Apex court that it needed 10-12 months time for conclusion of the trial in view of record and prosecution witnesses. They submitted that the appeal was not pressed in the Apex court, therefore, it was dismissed as not pressed.
They submitted that the conclusion of the trial was not within sight in the near future, hence, their client was entitled to relief of bail on hardship basis. They submitted that investigations had been completed and nothing had to be recovered from Hamza whereas progress in trial was very slow as only 5 out of 110 witnesses had been cross examined so far.
They pleaded with the court to grant benefit of bail as their client’s incarceration for an indefinite period was equal to punishment before the trial. The bench, after hearing initial arguments, issued notices to NAB for February 17 and sought a reply.