The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday ordered Suleman Shehbaz to surrender before it on December 13 and barred authorities from arresting Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s son till then.

The court while issuing the directives also asked the authorities not to arrest the petitioner at the airport. The orders were given by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq while hearing a plea filed by the prime minister’s son for protective bail.

Suleman’s lawyer Amjad Pervez told the court that his client is abroad since October 2018 and all the cases were registered after that.

However, the court said it cannot grant bail in absence of the petitioner.

At this, Pervez urged the bench to stop the authorities from arresting his client, adding that Suleman would reach Islamabad on December 11. He also shared his air ticket with the court.

The court accepted the lawyer’s request and directed Suleman to appear before the bench on December 13 and barred the authorities from arresting the prime minister’s son on his arrival. 

The son of PM Shehbaz had approached the IHC through his counsel Amjad Pervaiz a day earlier to seek two-week protective bail in a money laundering case registered against him, as he decided to end his London exile.

Suleman had prayed the court to grant him a protective bail so he could appear before the relevant forum upon his return to the country.

Suleman is currently in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah on his way to Pakistan. He will be arriving in Pakistan on Saturday with his wife and children.

He was named in several cases along with his father, the current prime minister, his brother Hamza Shehbaz, and other Sharif family members.

The Assets Recovery Unit (ARU), headed by Imran Khan’s former accountability aide Shahzad Akbar, had Suleman investigated in London in Shahbaz’s money-laundering and misuse of public office case by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) but he was given a clean chit after two years of investigation by the UK’s top anti-corruption sleuths.

Suleman claimed he was forced to leave Pakistan after fake cases were registered against him and his family in order to facilitate a new political order.

He said in a statement from Madinah: “These cases were the worst example of a political witch-hunt and political victimisation. There was no truth and evidence of corruption in the cases cooked up by the National Accountability Bureau under the former NAB chairman Javed Iqbal and the Assets Recovery Unit.”

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