Court extends Shehbaz, Hamza’s bail until Jan 4

** "Court extends Shehbaz, Hamza’s bail until Jan 4":

Court extends Shehbaz, Hamza’s bail until Jan 4. The court extended their interim bail until Jan 4 and directed the defence counsels to forward their arguments on the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) objection to the jurisdiction of the special court to hear the case....

Court extends Shehbaz, Hamza’s bail until Jan 4

The next hearing was fixed for Dec 24 when the court would hear arguments. The FIA had previously questioned the jurisdiction of Shehbaz and his sons, Hamza and Suleman, facing money laundering and sugar scam.

The challan also includes witnesses from construction companies, dairy farms, general stores, oxygen cylinder vendors, engineers, lawyers, bankers and officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and FIA.

The challan includes those who sold sugar to Shehbaz Sharif and his sons in various amounts. According to the challan, the amount ranged from Rs 0 to Rs 10 million. The main accused are Rawalpindi-based Zamri Shah — a former director at a Kanpur bank — Nadeem Qureshi (a former auditor) of SECP and Mohammad Irshad (a former accountant). Others are Hamid Mirza, Abu Hasan Baker and Farooq Bajwa.

The FIA has also prepared a plan to move the Supreme Court for the cancellation of bail of both Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza in case the court does not accept its objection to the jurisdiction on Dec 24.

FIA officials said that an application for cancellation of Shehbaz’s bail would be filed in the high court under Section 482 CrPC if the special court did not accept its objection against its jurisdiction. The FIA had challenged jurisdiction of a special court constituted under Section 7 of Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) 2007 to hear this case.

Lawyer Ameer Khawaja, who appeared on behalf of the anti-graft body argued that the special court was established under AMLA 2007 and it is only a court constituted under Section 19 of the FIA Act. He mentioned that both Shehbaz and his sons were granted interim bail by the special bench. He stated that FIA had filed a petition against their release. Khawaja said that if the court does not accept his plea, then he will move the Supreme Court for cancellation of their bail.

Shehbaz Sharif has been in jail for over six weeks, after he was arrested with his son Hamza in an investigation into corruption cases related to money laundering, fraud and other charges.

The father-son duo were arrested after the accountability court granted their one-month physical remand to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a Rs35 billion corruption case.

According to reports, NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal took notice of the bail granted to Sharif and his son in a case filed against them by the NAB Lahore over alleged money laundering and misuse of authority as chief minister between 1991 and 1993.

Earlier, Shehbaz Sharif was arrested after he appeared before the accountability court of Judge Muhammad Bashir in three corruption references filed against him by an accountability court. He was granted one-month physical remand and was sent to Adiala Jail.

He appeared before the Lahore accountability court on Nov 14 in reference no 2/2017 after he submitted his second bail application in the court.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday took notice over two bail applications of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been in hiding since the Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify him and his daughter Maryam Nawaz from public office.

Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal took notice of their two bail applications filed in a civil court of Lahore.

The NAB chairman directed the bureau’s officials to visit the court and gather further information regarding the bail applications and take legal course of action.

Shehbaz, who is facing charges of money laundering, had filed an application for bail in a civil court of Lahore on Tuesday.

"After the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister, Shehbaz applied for interim bail in an accountability court but it was rejected. Although he did not appear before the court on Thursday, he submitted a bail application in a civil court against his disqualification," NAB Lahore prosecutor Lahori Ameer said.

The accountability court had dismissed Shehbaz’s bail application on Sept 26 after he did not appear before the court despite being summoned.

** "SC orders FIR against SHC registrar"

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against Lahore High Court registrar Khurram Rasheed over his refusal to hear cases of prisoners on jail bails in the wake of the court's order to grant them regular hearing.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ordered registration of an FIR against the LHC registrar and other concerned officials of the court if they did not hear cases of prisoners seeking release on bail.

The chief justice recalled that the court had declared illegal jail bails granted in civil writ petitions and ordered hearing of all such cases at the first instance by district judges (DJS) courts instead of Lahore High Court.

The registrar should respect orders issued by the apex court, he observed. The chief justice observed that if cases were not heard in accordance with his order, then an FIR will be registered against them for contempt of court. He asked the prosecutor general to exercise his powers under the law in this regard.

The chief justice, who headed a five-member bench which had taken up a controversy over the court's decision on jail bails, also directed that appropriate instructions for taking action against medical officers and others should be issued.

During brief proceedings, Khurram Rasheed said he had refused hearing of all such cases and will continue to do so despite recent order of the apex court. The registrar was not answering phone calls amid a mob protest outside his office demanding his ouster over non-hearing cases.

The chief justice asked him to resume hearing of cases otherwise FIR would be registered against him and others.

Earlier, the registrar had refused to obey the court's order and a plea had been submitted seeking contempt action against him. At one point, the registrar had also submitted an apology to the court but did not relent from his stance.

On Thursday, petitioner advocate Iftikhar Ahmed Khan argued that Khurram Rasheed was practising disobedience and senior lawyers were visiting his office for hearings in jail bail petitions. He said a lawyer on Wednesday even locked his chamber for hearing of such petitions by district judges courts instead of high courts as directed by the Supreme Court.

He said that Khurram Rasheed was not allowing petitioners to meet the chief justice in this regard. He said the SHC registrar was not obeying the court's order and instead he was defying it.

He added that Khurram Rasheed had visited a lawyer's chamber and talked with him but he had refused to obey the Supreme Court's order. Iftikhar Ahmed Khan said that LHC registrar was not even honouring summon issued by jail authorities on court orders, adding that a jail officer had also issued warrants against him on Thursday when he did not appear before him, despite directives of the Supreme Court.

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