Leaks known as the Panama Papers have seen world leaders called to account Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top court on Thursday accepted for hearing a plea filed by the country’s anti-graft body, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), challenging bail granted to former chief minister of Punjab and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and former principal secretary to prime minister, Fawad Hasan Fawad, by Lahore High Court (LHC).

Panama Papers case lawyer and prominent anchorperson Naeem Bukhari represented the National Accountability Bureau before a three-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Azmat Saeed Shaikh.

On the basis of Bukhari’s performance in Panama Papers case that resulted in conviction of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (R) Muhammad Safdar, NAB has recently hired services of Bukhari in all cases pertaining to Sharifs’ alleged corruption references currently under trial in Supreme Court of Pakistan.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court bench heard NAB’s appeal against the bail granted to Shahbaz Sharif and Fawad Hasan Fawad and asked Bukhari why Shahbaz Sharif interfered in the construction company’s administrative affairs.

At one point the apex court expressed wonder the LHC had upheld Shahbaz Sharif’s decision of nullifying contract from one company and granting it to another.

Naeem Bukhari submitted before the court that LHC had granted bail to Sharif and Fawad without considering legal merits and demerits. The Hon’ble court, he said gave relief to the petitioners in haste.

LHC said decision (of granting bail to Sharifs) had cast negative impact on the entire proceedings and affected NAB’s reference too, said Bukhari.

The Supreme Court while accepting the NAB plea for hearing adjourned the matter until May 2 with directions to club all petitions in the same matter.

Shahbaz Sharif and Fawad Hasan Fawad were granted bail in two references — Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Feb 14, this year.

A division bench comprising Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan and Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf also granted bail to Fawad Hassan Fawad, former implementation secretary to the chief minister, in the housing scheme scam, but denied him bail in another NAB reference relating to assets beyond means.

NAB had arrested Shahbaz Sharif on Oct 5 last year in the Ashiyana housing scheme scam when he appeared before the bureau in connection with investigation into the Punjab Saaf Pani corruption case.

n Thursday’s proceedings some interesting comments were exchanged between the bench and the NAB’s lead lawyer.

To a question how he managed to come as he had earlier requested the court to excuse him since he had appointment with doctor, Naeem Bukhari Sadi he did have an appointment with doctor but seeing absurd comments and bizarre reaction on social media to his request for not appearing in NAB case, he had to come and argue in the case.

“After the hearing I will go straight to the doctor,” said the senior lawyer and a TV celebrity of the country.