• Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Pak PM’s son returns home from self-exile to face graft charges

Suleman had been in London with his family since 2018 when the National Accountability Bureau (FIA) registered multiple cases against him ahead of the general election.

Suleman Shehbaz, son of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. (Photo credit: Twitter)

By: Melvin Samuel

Suleman Shehbaz, the absconding son of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, returned home in the early hours of Sunday after four years of self-exile in London to face corruption charges.

Suleman had been in London with his family since 2018 when the National Accountability Bureau (FIA) registered multiple cases against him ahead of the general election. He left Pakistan after appearing in a few hearings.

His return comes days after the Islamabad High Court barred the FIA and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting him in a money laundering case while hearing his petition for protective bail that would enable him to surrender before a trial court.

The court also asked him to surrender before it by December 13.

The Pakistan Muslim League (N) on its official Twitter account shared a video of Suleman returning home and meeting his father and hugging him. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Attaullah Tarar also shared the same video captioned: “Allahu Akbar, Alhumdulillah, SulemanSharif is back!” Ahead of his return, Suleman in a statement said that he was forced to leave Pakistan for the sake of his safety after “fake and manipulated cases” were registered against him and his family to “facilitate a new political order”.

He termed the cases the “worst example of a political witch-hunt and political victimisation” and claimed they were “cooked up by the National Accountability Bureau under the former NAB chairman Javed Iqbal and the Assets Recovery Unit”.

The FIA booked Shehbaz Sharif and his sons Hamza and Suleman in November 2020 under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and of Anti Money Laundering Act.

Arrest warrants had been issued for Suleman. However, in its report submitted to the court, the FIA stated that the warrants could not be executed since Suleman was not present at his address and had gone abroad.

A trial court had also declared him a proclaimed offender, along with another suspect in a Rs 16 billion money laundering case, in July this year.

According to the FIA report, the investigation team “detected 28 benami accounts of the Shehbaz family through which money laundering of Rs 16.3 billion was committed from 2008-18. The FIA examined a money trail of 17,000 credit transactions.” The report added that the amount was kept in “hidden accounts” and “given to Shehbaz in a personal capacity”.

(PTI)

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