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Pak court restrains anti-graft body from arresting Hamza Shehbaz

Press Trust of India  |  Lahore 

A court Monday restrained Pakistan's top anti-graft body from arresting Hamza Shehbaz, the Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly and the son of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Shehbaz Sharif.

A two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court, headed by Justice Malik Shehzad Ahmed Khan, restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting Hamza until further notice, Geo TV reported.

The court also ordered Hamza to pay surety bonds worth Rs10 million and issued a notice to NAB seeking its reply in the matter.

A NAB team had carried out two successive raids on Friday and Saturday at Shehbaz's Model Town residence to arrest Hamza.

During Monday's hearing, Hamza's lawyer told the court, "In an earlier order, the high court had directed that Hamza be informed 10 days prior to his arrest. The LHC had granted bail to my client in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case."

The PML-N leader's counsel further said Hamza is the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly and the 10-day order had been issued so the relevant forum can be approached for bail.

Hamza is seeking pre-arrest bail so he can appear before NAB, the counsel added.

Justice Shehzad then asked the NAB prosecutor regarding the cases in which they are seeking to arrest Hamza. At this, the PML-N leader's counsel said his arrest warrants have been issued in a case pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income.

"Three cases against Hamza are being probed in NAB Lahore," the NAB prosecutor said.

Hamza's lawyer then said, "NAB should share evidence against us and we will respond. Hamza had also approached LHC before this on November 1 and is innocent."

However, the NAB prosecutor stated, "We have solid evidence against Hamza. On April 3, an inquiry against Hamza was upgraded to an investigation. Hamza's earlier bail petition had been declared ineffective and the Supreme Court has issued a ruling on this matter."

At this, the bench said, "Both the matters are separate."

After hearing arguments of both sides, the court restrained NAB from arresting Hamza until further notice and sought a reply from the accountability bureau.

The hearing of the case has been adjourned till April 17.

On Saturday, the LHC issued a short order granting interim bail to Hamza until April 8.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 08 2019. 17:06 IST