Published On: Fri, May 13th, 2022
Published in Category: Lahore

FIA decides not to prosecute PM Shehbaz, CM Punjab Hamza Shehbaz & others in Rs16 billion alleged money laundering case

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LAHORE : The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday decided not to prosecute Prime Minister Main Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Hamza Shehbaz Shairf and others in the Rs16 billion alleged money laundering case three days before a special Lahore court was scheduled to frame charges against the PML-N leaders.

According to a written application submitted in court, the FIA director general (DG), via the investigating officer, told Special Prosecutor Sikander Zulqarnain Saleem not to appear in court as the “accused in the case are going to be elected the prime minister of Pakistan and chief minister of Punjab”.

“The concerned quarters are not interested to prosecute the accused persons,” it stated, requesting that these instructions be made part of the case record.

Special Court Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan on Thursday issued the written order at the request of the agency’s prosecutor and also made the request by the FIA prosecution team a part of the case record.

Shehbaz and his sons — Hamza and Suleman — were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in November 2020 under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of the PPC and 5(2) and 5(3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act.

Fourteen others were also named in the FIR under Sections 5(2) and 5(3) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

The written order issued by the court states that following the previous hearing of the case on April 11, FIA Special Prosecutor Sikandar Zulqarnain filed a petition of ‘no interest’ in the trial.

Zulqarnain further stated that DG FIA had asked the investigating officer to not appear in the case against the premier.

“The concerned FIA officials show no interest in the trial against Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz and others,” the prosecutor prayed.

Earlier, on the last hearing, the FIA’s special court had issued an order that it will indict PM Shehbaz and CM Punjab Hamza.

The special court had to indict the father-son duo and others allegedly involved in the case in April, but due to the absence of PM Shehbaz, the process was delayed.

In the last hearing on April 27, the premier did not appear before the court and, as a result, in its written order, the special court summoned him, Hamza, and all the other suspects on May 14.

“It is being made clear to all the parties that on the next hearing, we will indict them […] all the suspects should ensure their attendance,” the special court’s order had said.

The court had noted that it could not indict the suspects in the last hearing due to the absence of the prime minister.