Islamabad: Opposition leader in Pakistan’s National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif is all set to resume active politics after the Lahore High Court on Thursday released him on bail.
A two-member bench headed by Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan granted bail against two security bonds of Rs10 million (Dh262,636) each for Shahbaz, who is the former chief minister of Punjab and younger brother to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
A member of the National Assembly Rana Mubashar Javed on Friday submitted the security bonds before the accountability court that and got his release order.
Although he had been living in Islamabad’s Minister Enclave, in his capacity as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Shahbaz’s movement was severely restricted and he was not allowed to meet his fellow party leaders or relatives without prior permission.
After Shahbaz’s release from the court, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) has lost its moral grounds to object to his heading the PAC.
Meanwhile a senior leader of Shahbaz’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Marriyum Aurangzeb, told Gulf News on Friday that, after Shahbaz’s release, she was very much confident former PM Nawaz Sharif’s release was also a matter of days.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has failed to produce any evidence before the Accountability Court in Ashiana-e-Iqbal and Ramzan Sugar Mills references and for that Lahore High Court had also criticised it, she said.
Similarly, a division bench of Islamabad High Court had earlier suspended conviction of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in September last year in Avenfield reference but he was taken into custody again in December on the orders of Accountability Court judge who was hearing another reference against Mr Sharif in Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment properties.
The PML-N leader was optimistic the Accountability Court’s decision in Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference would meet the same fate, and the Islamabad High Court that is hearing Nawaz Sharif’s plea for suspension of conviction in this reference as well would admit his plea.
Meanwhile, Shahbaz has decided to call a parliamentary meeting of his party on Monday to review the overall political situation in the country and devise a joint strategy to protest price hikes and increases in gas and electricity tariffs.
The PTI government, according to the PML-N, has overburdened the masses with a 150 per cent increase in gas tariffs — something the opposition party said was unprecedented in the history of the country.
“Instead of giving some relief to the people, the hike in prices of everyday goods has put the masses on tenterhooks,” Aurangzeb said.
Whereas Shahbaz’s release has given a boost to the morale of opposition parties, at the same time PTI leadership has expressed its dismay over the court’s decision.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry at a press conference after the court announced its order said the cabinet had reiterated that there was a need to revamp the accountability system in the country so that influential and powerful should also be made accountable for their deeds.
“It is ironic that both Shahbaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari, who had committed billions of rupees corruption, are moving like free men while a poor person is jailed for two years for stealing a hen,” he said.