Pakistani court extends interim bail of PM Sharif, Hamza in money laundering case

Islamabad, PakistanEdited By: Vyomica BerryUpdated: May 21, 2022, 03:37 PM IST

In this combination of file images, Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif can be seen with his son Hamza Shehbaz Sharif  Photograph:(AFP)

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The father and son duo have been accused of laundering money worth approximately $80,000

The interim bail of Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz has been extended by a special court in Lahore. The father and son duo have been accused of laundering money worth approximately $80,000.

The Sharif family, including three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the brother of the new prime minister, have been embroiled in countless corruption and money laundering allegations. The family denies the accusations and argues they are politically motivated. 

"It was said that matters were handled through fake companies and transactions of Rs2 billion were done through one account. Many of the charges filed by the previous investigation team were not included in the new challan," said Mohammad Amjad Pervaiz, Shehbaz and Hamza's counsel.

"There is a world of difference between the FIR and the challan," he added.

According to Shehbaz, "My salary would be Rs10 million but I did not take it. I also went on official tours using my own money. I used to get the government car refueled from my own pocket. I saved the nation billions of rupees."

"Baseless propaganda was done in this case for 1.5 years. The suspects tolerated insults despite a lack of evidence. It seems the FIA is inspired by [streaming platform] Netflix. This is a film-inspired FIR," he argued.

Nepotism and cronyism are deeply entrenched in the Muslim-majority nation of more than 220 million people, with power mostly shared between two families, the Sharifs and the Bhuttos, for much of Pakistan's history.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was voted in by an electorate weary of two-party dynasties in 2018 on a promise of sweeping away decades of entrenched corruption and cronyism.

But he was ousted by the two powerful families after he struggled to maintain support with soaring inflation, a feeble rupee and crippling debt.

Since his ouster, Khan has taken to the streets and held massive rallies that attract thousands in the hope of forcing an early election before the next October 2023 poll.  

(With inputs from agencies)

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