LAHORE: On Tuesday, the Accountability Court ruled Nusrat Shehbaz, wife of Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, an absconder for her repeated non-appearance in relation to money laundering and illicit assets.
The investigation officer of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a report before the court and said the procedure under section 87 of CrPC to declare the suspect absconder stood completed as Ms Nusrat refused to attend the hearings despite the last chance of 30 days.
President Judge Jawadul Hassan ruled Ms. Nusrat an absconder and ordered the IO to begin further proceedings against her pursuant to CrPC section 88, which requires the confiscation of the absconder’s mobile and immovable assets.
In order to prevent their presence in the courts, Shehbaz’s son Suleman, daughter Rabia Imran and son-in-law Haroon Yousaf were already proclaimed absconders.
Meanwhile, Mr Shehbaz and Punjab Assembly Leader of the Opposition Hamza Shehbaz were produced by the prison officials before the verdict.
The prosecution had sent its three witnesses, but since lead defence attorney Amjad Pervez was unavailable, their cross-examination could not be conducted.
The judge expressed his dismay at the lack of lawyers, but the cross-examination was adjourned for the next hearing on December 12.
Despite an order given by the judge, Mr Shehbaz protested about the non-provision of the physiotherapy facility in the prison.
The judge ordered the prison manager to appear in person at the next hearing along with a report in this context.
The PML-N president also spoke in his behalf and reiterated that a single penny of public funds has not been misappropriated by him. He also said that, after his first term in 1988 as a member of the Punjab Assembly, he had never withdrawn his salary as a parliamentarian.
The judge urged Mr Shehbaz to talk less in court and let the matter be defended by his legal counsel.
The judge reminded the opposition leader that he had a professional political spokesman to plead his case before the public, referring to PML-N information secretary Marryium Aurangzeb.