LAHORE: On Saturday, PM Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz appeared before a special court in the Rs16 billion money laundering case. Rejecting allegations of corruption against him, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that he always put personal interests behind and selflessly devoted himself for the service of his country even to the detriment of his own family interests. Strict security measures were been put in place and the court’s premises were evacuated before the duo’s arrival. Moreover, during the proceedings, PM Shehbaz Sharif apprised the court that he had never received his salary, TA and DA from the national kitty, which is around Rs70 to Rs80 million, despite it being his legal right. The prime minister asked if he would launder just Rs2.5 million. “In this case, I am accused of laundering Rs2.5 million,” said the prime minister. The prime minister said his family suffered Rs2 billion but he did not give subsidies to favour the sugar mills. Later, he and CM Hamza Shehbaz left the courtroom after being granted permission by the judge. Amjad Pervaiz, Shehbaz Sharif’s counsel, argued that the prime minister has nothing to do with the accounts opened or closed in the past 10 years. The burden of proof in the case lies with the prosecution, argued Amjad Pervaiz. He maintained that the PTI-led government’s focus was on imprisoning Shehbaz Sharif and this [money laundering] case was based on mala fide because it is politically motivated. “The facts in the challan submitted by the FIA were incorrect.” Referring to the law, the counsel said if there are 10 cases against anyone, then he/she will not be arrested separately in each case. “The [previous] government knew that this case could not be proved in the court,” the lawyer said, adding that the courts issued their verdicts in favour of his client. However, the presiding judge of the Special Court (Central-I), Ijaz Hassan Awan, had extended their interim bails in the case till May 28 (today) during the hearing last week. The special court had also issued arrest warrants for Suleman Shehbaz, son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. When the hearing resumed, the judge pointed out to FIA prosecutor Farooq Bajwa that the agency’s report regarding the arrest of Shehbaz’s son, Suleman Shehbaz, and other suspects had contradictory statements. “On one hand, the report says that D-41, Model Town, is not an address. On the other, it also says the suspect Suleman Shehbaz is abroad,” he observed. Bajwa responded that the address did exist but the suspect could not be found at that location At this, FIA prosecutor Farooq Bajwa said that it was a mistake. The author wanted to write that the suspect was not present at the address. “Where is the investigation officer who prepared this report,” asked the judge. The prosecutor pleaded with the court to allow the submission of a new report in this regard. Pointing out the flaws in the report, the judge noted it is said in the report that co-accused, Ghulam Shabbar, has died while at the same time it also said that he was interrogated. A challan has been submitted about a person who had died, the judge noted and directed the officer to submit a new challan after removing all the bits related to Ghulam Shabbar. At this, the FIA official told the court that the suspect’s death certificate was a year old and the inquiry had started prior to his death. Bajwa said he would submit a detailed response on this.