Islamabad: The indictment of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Punjab province Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, in a 16 billion PKR money laundering case was delayed again on Saturday after the premier submitted an application to be exempted from the hearing.
Last month, a special court in Lahore had directed Shehbaz and Hamza to ensure their presence at the next date of hearing (May 14) for the framing of charges against them. When the hearing resumed on Saturday, their lawyer, Mohammad Amjad Pervaiz, submitted an application on Shehbaz's behalf, seeking exemption from appearance. The application stated that Shehbaz was scheduled to return from his visit to the UK on Friday but was delayed since an appointment with his medical consultant could not be set up before 12.30 p.m. on Saturday. Shehbaz is a cancer survivor and a patient of chronic backache and his medical check-up had been long overdue since the previous PTI government did not allow him to fly abroad, it stated.
The application further stated that Shehbaz also had to reschedule his return so he could visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to offer his condolences on the passing away of the country's president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
"The non-appearance of the petitioner is neither malafide nor intentional, rather, the same is on the account of the above said reason," it added.
Subsequently, Presiding Judge of the Special Court (Central-I) Ijaz Hassan Awan accepted the application and extended Shehbaz and Hamza's pre-arrest bails till May 21.