December 1, 2023

Lahore – Staff ReporteR:

Last week, the court had approved Shehbaz’s bail against surety bonds of Rs5 million each, but the matter was forwarded to the CJ Lahore High Court Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan after the bench came up with a split decision.

Later, CJ LHC had formed a new three-member bench to hear the bail petition of Shehbaz Sharif.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi comprising Justice Aalia Neelum and Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi announced the verdict unanimously.

Split verdict

Justice Sarfraz Dogar, who headed the bench, allowed Shehbaz’s bail petition while its other member Justice Asjad Javed Ghural had dismissed the same on merits. In his dissenting order, Justice Ghural also accused the senior judge of issuing the bail granting short order ‘unilaterally’.

Justice Sarfraz wrote that Shehbaz Sharif was arrested in the Ashiana case, why he was not arrested in the assets case, it is beyond comprehension why the NAB postponed the inquiry, not a single transaction in younger Sharif’s account was detected. However, the NAB accepted that TTIs were sent in the name of Sharif as co-accused. When there is no concrete evidence, how one can be declared criminal, the judge said in his note.

In a dissenting note, Justice Asjad Javed Ghural said that he had asked the court to reject bail. He also hinted at rejecting bail in the chamber, but the co-judge announced the acceptance of bail on his own. Despite my clear refusal, the matter was brought to the notice of the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court in a few minutes, he added.

Justice Asjad further said in his dissenting note that Justice Sarfraz Dogar wrote a short order and sent it to him for signature. “This is very unfortunate and rare example in the judicial history, which could not be expected from a senior member heading the division bench,” said the dissenting judge.

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