Court acquits PM, his son in Rs16 billion money laundering

Shehbaz Sharif ‘thanks God’ for his acquittal in ‘fake case based on political vengeance’ n Hamza calls verdict ‘victory of truth’ n Imran Khan says ‘acquittal has covered up’ theft worth billions.

LAHORE    -  Lahore Special Central Court Judge Ejaz-ul-Ahsan Awan Wednesday acquitted Prime Min­ister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz in the Rs16 bil­lion money laundering case regis­tered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) due to the lack of ev­idence against them. 

Accepting pleas of acquittal from both the accused, the court announced the reserved verdict. The FIA had registered this case against both the accused in No­vember 2020, under Pakistan Pe­nal Code, Anti Corruption Act and Anti Money Laundering Act.

The agency presented its case against them in the court in De­cember 2021, accusing them of laundering Rs16.3 billion by us­ing 28 different accounts between 2008 and 2018.

The FIA counsel earlier told the court, there was not sufficient ev­idence directly linking the prime minister and his son to the 17,000 transactions investigated by the agency in the case.

The court announced its judg­ment in the mega money-laun­dering case against the Shehbaz family after the FIA prosecutor informed the court that no money was directly deposited in the ac­counts of the father-son duo. 

The prime minister and Ham­za Shehbaz did not appear before the court on Wednesday and a legal team submitted separate applications for their exemp­tion from personal appearance for one-day. The court was re­quested to exempt the prime minister and his son as the pre­mier could not appear due to his official engagements whereas Hamza Shehbaz had back pain. 

During the proceedings, Advo­cate Amjad Pervaiz stated that the written arguments had also been submitted in the court. He submitted that no prosecution witness had given the name of Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza She­hbaz, adding that the investiga­tion officer attempted to distort the statements of the witnesses.

He submitted that the case was made on the basis of mala­fide intention, adding that no amount was transferred in the accounts of Shehbaz Sharif or Hamza Shehbaz. He further submitted that as per the law, the prosecution had to prove its case, whereas the prosecution could not present any evidence on the charge of bribery.

The defence counsel submit­ted that he had never seen such a case in his career where the prosecution was contesting the case without evidence. Howev­er, FIA Prosecutor Farooq Bajwa submitted that accused Mas­roor Anwar used to operate the account of Shehbaz Sharif.

Amjad Pervaiz submitted that it was against the facts as Mas­roor Anwar never operated the account of Shehbaz Sharif. The FIA prosecutor submitted that all benami accounts were oper­ated by employees of Ramzan Sugar Mills. The defence coun­sel replied that the record of the case had been compiled during previous government tenure. The FIA prosecutor submitted that Gulzar Ahmad’s account continued to be operated even after his death, adding that Mas­roor Anwar made transactions from accounts of Shehbaz Sharif and Gulzar Ahmad.

At this, the court questioned the FIA prosecutor whether he had any evidence or record in this regard. To which, the pros­ecutor replied that there was no evidence of this on record. Subsequently, the court, after hearing detailed arguments of the parties, reserved its verdict on the acquittal applications, which was announced later.


After the verdict’s announce­ment, the prime minister thanked God for his acquittal and termed the case against him “fake, baseless, and based on political vengeance “.

“No matter how much I thank God enough for this, it won’t be enough,” he said in a tweet. 

PM Shehbaz said that “despite the worst practices, use of state force, and holding institutions hostage,” he still triumphed.

In a statement, the former chief minister said the verdict marks the victory of “truth, righteousness, and honesty.”

“In this politically motivated case, I was kept behind bars for almost 22 months, but despite that, we fought the case vigor­ously,” Hamza said.

“The nation’s money was wasted, and the reputation of institutions was also damaged due to the cases lodged on Im­ran Khan’s directions,” the PML-N leader said. Hamza said that before Pakistani courts, the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency also gave a clean chit to PM Shehbaz. 

“The actual money launder­er is Imran Niazi, who received funds through a ‘tea boy’. He is a certified foreign-funded [politi­cian], who will now have to face the courts,” he added.

Felicitating PM Shehbaz and Hamza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Ata Tarar said that with this verdict the “narra­tive of vindictive accountability of the Imran-era has been bur­ied.” “Where is [Khan’s former aide on accountability] Shahzad Akbar?” he questioned during a press conference.


Reacting to the acquittal of PM and his son in the money laun­dering case, PTI on Wednesday termed the development a “slap in the nation’s face by the judi­cial system”. Commenting on the special court’s decision, PTI Chairman Imran Khan told a gathering in Sharaqpur that PM Shehbaz and Hamza’s acquittal has covered up their theft worth billions of rupees.

In a tweet, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said that the allegedly laundered “Rs24 billion have been passed over for the father-son duo”. “On one hand, [they] are seeking funds for flood victims. On the other hand, one family has loot­ed billions of rupees,” Fawad said, adding that the laundered money belonged to the people of Pakistan.

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