PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif (File photo)
LAHORE: Pakistan’s opposition leader in Parliament and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif walked out of jail on Friday after spending about eight months behind bars in two corruption cases filed against him by the country’s anti-graft body.
Shahbaz, the younger brother of three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was released from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail on Friday afternoon, a day after a full bench of the Lahore high court granted bail to him against furnishing two bail bonds worth Rs 5 million each.
Many supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had gathered outside the jail and showered the car of the 69-year-old former chief minister of Punjab province with rose petals and chanted slogans against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Shahbaz was arrested in September 2020 in money laundering and assets beyond means cases by the national accountability bureau (NAB) after a court in Lahore had rejected his bail application in the money laundering case.
The NAB had alleged that Shahbaz’s family had assets of around Rs 16.5 million till 1990, which increased to over Rs 7 billion in 2018 that were disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Shahbaz’s counsel told the court no investigation was pending against his client in these cases as the NAB had already filed a case against him, he should be granted bail.
Declaring Shahbaz’s release from jail ‘death of selected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s fake accountability narrative’, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said, “Lahore high court judges had not only stamped Shahbaz Sharif`s innocence but also exposed the malicious intent behind the government’s fictitious cases.”
She said the release of the opposition leader in the National Assembly is the death of Khan’s fake narrative on corruption.
“The court specifically asked NAB if it had any evidence or proof to back its allegations to prove that Shahbaz had in any way committed corruption in public money. But the government, like all other cases, had nothing to say. It had nothing to say because Shahbaz had served not only the people of Punjab but of entire Pakistan religiously with devotion, diligence and transparency day in and day out. He had always taken his position as the chief minister as a sacred trust of the people of Pakistan,” she said.
Aurangzeb said this bail in the assets beyond means case filed against Shahbaz was a blow to adviser to the premier Shehzad Akbar.
“This bail is a medal of honour for Shahbaz Sharif and PML-N and is a resounding slap on Imran Khan’s face. The court had trashed all these allegations by the NAB-Niazi alliance purely on merit,” she said, adding that Khan in his obsession to inflict damage on Shahbaz ended up damaging Pakistan at home and abroad.