Pakistan

Court grants Shehbaz Sharif permanent exemption in Ramazan sugar mill case

Court grants Shehbaz Sharif permanent exemption in Ramazan sugar mill case

On Monday, a Lahore accountability court granted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif‘s request for perpetual immunity from prosecution in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case.

PM Shehbaz and his son, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, both filed a request to leave court hearings due to their busy schedules during today’s session.

The Prime Minister claimed that he had made every effort to attend in court everytime he was summoned because he considered it was his “duty and responsibility.”

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He maintained, however, that because of his dedication to the country as Prime Minister, he had requested a leave of absence to fulfil his national commitments.

Shehbaz Sharif said in a court declaration that he wanted to present the court with some facts.

“I have never filed an unwarranted attendance apology. I also have to meet the IMF delegation, and other international delegations; however, if the court rejects my request for exemption from attendance, I will appear again,” the premier maintained.

Similarly, given the budget session, CM Hamza Shehbaz cited his busy schedule.

PM Shehbaz also testified that the Chiniot drain was built at the request of a local member of the provincial assembly, and that the provincial cabinet’s agreement was also sought.

“As Punjab’s chief minister, I have always prioritised the welfare of the people,” he remarked. The farmer’s interests were taken into account rather than the sugar mills’ when determining the price of sugarcane.”

Shehbaz claimed that in 2014-15, a province decreased sugarcane prices, and he was urged to do the same. Instead of lowering prices, he imposed a tax on sugarcane ethanol. He also mentioned that his son’s sugar mill was subject to the similar taxation approach.

Shehbaz presented the judge with the development data while handing over a booklet detailing the development projects he managed as CM. He went on to say that if he had committed corruption, this effort would not have been feasible.

The NAB prosecutor answered saying he didn’t have this booklet, but Shehbaz Sharif invited him to grab it and study it.

During his arguments on Shehbaz Sharif’s request for exemption from perpetual attendance, lawyer Amjad Pervez stated that Shehbaz sought for the exemption while he travelled abroad. Shehbaz Sharif reappeared and appeared in court on March 23, 2020. He returned without abusing the court’s permission. The lawyer further stated that Shehbaz Sharif is facing cancer and is 67 years old when making his case.

PM’s attendance and that of the other accused were concluded by the court, and he was allowed to depart. Following the conclusion of the hearing, the court granted PM Shehbaz’s plea for permanent attendance exemption and delayed the matter to July 5.

In addition, the accountability court heard the case of Shehbaz Sharif and other accused, including Ahad Cheema, in the Ashiana housing scandal. The Prime Minister came in court and concluded his appearance while also requesting an exemption from the lawsuit. The court postponed the case’s hearing until July 5 in order to hear NAB’s answer to his petition.

RELATED: FIA seeks to arrest PM Shehbaz Shairf and CM Hamza Shehbaz in a money laundering case

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Ahmed Khan is a Senior Editor at Pakistan Lounge and joined in July 2021. Formerly News Editor at a Local News website

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