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‘Slap in nation’s face’: PTI on PM Shehbaz, Hamza’s acquittal in money laundering case

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  • PTI’s Maleeka Bokhari says “country’s major criminals” acquitted.
  • Khurram Sher Zaman says he’s not surprised at acquittal.
  • “No concrete evidence” against the father-son duo, court says.

LAHORE: Reacting to the acquittal of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz in the money laundering case, PTI on Wednesday termed the development a “slap in the nation’s face by the judicial system”.

Commenting on the special court’s decision, PTI Chairman Imran Khan told a gathering in Sharaqpur that PM Shehbaz and Hamza’s acquittal has covered up their theft worth billions of rupees.

In a tweet, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the allegedly laundered “Rs24 billion have been passed over for the father-son duo”.

“On one hand, [they] are seeking funds for flood victims. On the other hand, one family has looted billions of rupees,” Fawad said, adding that the laundered money belonged to the people of Pakistan.

Taking a jibe at the court’s decision, another PTI leader Maleeka Bokhari tweeted that the “country’s major criminals” and “convicted thieves” have been “respectfully acquitted” today.

While PTI’s Parliamentary Leader in Sindh Khurrum Sher Zaman stated that he was not surprised at the acquittal of PM Shehbaz and Hamza.

“The prosecution’s strings are in the hands of the imported government. We could foresee their purpose of coming into power,” he tweeted, adding that the resignation of the Federal Investigation Agency’s Director General and the absence of a witness is the actual sign of favouritism.

Acquittal of PM, Hamza in money laundering case

Earlier, Special Court — Central, acquitted PM Shehbaz and his son Hamza in the Rs16 billion money laundering case lodged against them by the FIA.

The court announced its judgment in the case against the Shehbaz family after the FIA prosecutor informed the court that no money was directly deposited in the accounts of the father-son duo.

The Sharif’s — who were summoned today — did not appear before the court as their counsel filed a request for exemption following PM Shehbaz’s busy schedule and Hamza’s ill health.

The court acquitted the premier and his son after the FIA — last week — had cleared the PML-N leaders on the charges of laundering Rs16 billion, as there was “no direct evidence” against the father-son duo.

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Parliament’s joint session has been rescheduled for April 18.

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Following the general elections on February 8, the legislative year will begin on Thursday with President Asif Ali Zardari addressing the first session of both houses of parliament.

Articles 54 (1) and 56 (3) of the Constitution were invoked by President Zardari to call the meeting. According to Article 56(3), he will speak to the combined session, which starts at 4 p.m.

The combined session, which was originally set for April 16, has been moved to April 18. For this reason, the April 16 joint parliamentary session notification is revoked.

Note that both the upper and lower houses have had their members elected in accordance with the constitution, and that this will be the nation’s first joint session after the new legislative year has begun.

Former President Arif Alvi was still in office after the elections that took place on February 8, but he was unable to call a joint session because the Senate elections had not yet taken place.

The combined session was summoned by President Zardari a few weeks after he took the oath of office and after the Senate elections went well.

Some months after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition government had taken power in the center, Alvi had already called a joint session of parliament on October 6, 2022.

On the other hand, the session was called by the then-president to commemorate the start of the 2022 National Assembly’s final full year.

Amidst the nation’s increasing political instability, the former president emphasized the need for dialogue and urged to end polarization in his speech to the parliament, which was marred by an unexpected boycott by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F).

“Stubbornness doesn’t mean that a person is a Polarized person.”

In the end, the number of parliamentarians in attendance during the former president’s speech dropped down to 12 from the initial 15 people.

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In instances from May 9, the ATC prevented police from detaining Fawad Chaudhry.

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The ATC judge issued the directives after allowing Fawad Chaudhry temporary release until April 20 in four cases involving the violence on May 9.

Additionally, the police were instructed by the court to bring the case file against Chaudhry at the following hearing.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Fawad Chaudhry expressed his optimism for a bright future after spending four stints behind bars.

Among the numerous issues Chaudhry is dealing with are allegations of corruption.

The former PTI leader was released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on April 6.

On April 1, Fawad Chaudhry was granted bail by a division bench of the Islamabad High Court, which was composed of Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri. The case included land in Jhelum and was brought before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Qasir Imam, Fawad’s attorney, had previously told the court that his client was accused of accepting a Rs. 5 million bribe from a civilian.

He added that he had never seen the complainant whose complaint led to the filing of a first information report (FIR) against his client. The accusation is that the complainant bribed Fawad and his client offered him a job.

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Pakistan

The SHC is contesting Aseefa Bhutto’s election to the Nawabshah NA seat.

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Mustafa Rind of the PTI asserted in a high court suit that his nomination papers were turned down following his kidnapping.

He begged that the announcement of Aseefa Bhutto’s uncontested election be deemed invalid, and he added that a by-election to fill the National Assembly’s open seats will take place on April 21.

On March 29, the Pakistani Election Commission announced that Aseefa Bhutto had emerged victorious as the MNA from NA-207, following the withdrawal of nomination papers from the remaining three candidates.

Shaheed Benazirabad (Nawabshah), which became vacant after her father Asif Ali Zardari was elected as Pakistan’s 14th President, was held by Aseefa Bhutto in the National Assembly.

In the initial round of nomination papers for the by-election, 11 candidates were confirmed by the Returning Officer. Only four nominees’ papers, including Aseefa Zardari, were accepted after careful examination, nevertheless.

In an effort to garner support for her brother Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Aseefa led a number of rallies during the PPP’s strong involvement in the election campaign leading up to the general elections on February 8. At a PPP gathering in Multan on November 30, 2020, she made her political debut.

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