An accountability court in Lahore reserved its verdict on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request for physical remand of Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz, a day after his arrest.
Earlier, amid tight security, the NAB team brought Hamza to the court.
NAB special prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua had said the accountability bureau would present its arguments for 15-day physical remand of Hamza before admin Judge Jawad ul Hassan.
Hamza’s lawyers Advocate Amjad Pervez and Advocate Salman Aslam Butt will be present on his behalf. Ahead of his appearance before the accountability court, strict security arrangements were made.
PML-N workers clashed with police outside the court premises. An altercation took place between PML-N MPA Rukhsana Kausar and a female police officer regarding entry into the courtroom. The MPA raised her hand on the police officer who slapped the MPA. Police said that they would not let anyone take the law into their own hands, while Kausar said that the police were making allegations and no one had slapped [the police officer].
Ahead of the PML-N leader’s appearance police had devised a strategy.
Containers were placed outside the civil secretariat where party workers were to be restricted till. All routes to enter and exit the accountability court were sealed.
Police had said that no PML-N worker would have permission to enter the judicial complex — a large contingent of police were placed both inside and outside the premises. The entry of non-essential personnel towards the accountability court was also restricted.
NAB on Tuesday arrested Hamza after the Lahore High Court dismissed as withdrawn his bail petitions in two inquiries — pertaining to money laundering/assets beyond means and the Ramzan Sugar Mills.
Scores of PML-N-affiliated lawyers and political workers were present inside and outside the courtroom.
Prior to his arrest, Hamza had briefly responded to reporters in the courtroom, saying: “The unholy alliance of NAB and Niazi [Prime Minister Imran Khan] stands exposed today.” He said his lawyers decided to withdraw the bail petitions as they had not been provided with the documents on the basis of which NAB initiated inquiries against him.
Party workers had chanted slogans and trailed the bureau’s vehicle that carried Hamza; they held a protest at GPO Chowk on the Mall Road too, and temporarily disturbed the flow of traffic on Mall Road, and burnt tyres. However, they had dispersed peacefully after an hour or so.