Lahore   -  An accountability court on Friday rejected the request of National Accountability Bureau to extend physical remand of Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case, and sent him on 14-day judicial remand.

Hamza, however, will remain in NAB’s custody in the assets beyond means case till July 10. In the sugar mills case, the NAB officials will present the PML-N leader to court on July 20.

Hamza was arrested on June 11 after the Lahore High Court dismissed as withdrawn his bail pleas in assets beyond means and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases.

After the court decision, the bureau got his physical remand till June 26 which was then further extended.

The court yesterday sent him on judicial remand by turning down the NAB’s request for an extension. 

As he reached the court, he met his father Shehbaz Sharif.

The NAB prosecutor during the proceedings told the court that the bureau called different suspected persons in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case however they had not turned up.

Waris Ali Janjua said Hamza was not cooperating with the investigation officials. The NAB official said that two suspects in the case had not appeared before the bureau when Special Judge Accountability Court Naeem Arshad asked the official why further physical remand of the PML-N leader was required.

The defence counsel said that NAB had previously made the same request for extension of his physical remand. He argued if a reference had been filed in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case after investigation why further extension in the physical remand of his client.

He stated that Javed Iqbal, a Ramzan Sugar Mill employee, was cooperating with NAB and had also appeared before the bureau.

Shehbaz told the court that the bureau had made fake and baseless case.

“Allah is a witness, the NAB is making a false case and humiliating me,” he said.

The former CM said in 2015, the Sindh government had set the price of sugarcane at Rs181 while the Punjab government set it at Rs180. He added that the provincial government of Sindh had then decreased the rate to Rs165. He said when he was Punjab chief minister he gave the farmers a higher rate than that of the Sindh government.

He added that he was not blaming the Sindh government and maintained that the Sindh High Court had fixed the sugarcane rate at Rs175. He disclosed that he had then a lot of pressure to cut the price but he preferred tendering his resignation to crushing growers.

The NAB official meanwhile raised objection that as the trial was not taking place yesterday and there was no need for comments.

In informal talks with the media, Hamza expressed concerns over the arrest of former law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan.  He said the government got a fake drug case registered against Sanaullah.

Hamza said the season of arrests was going on in the country so there was no need of being fearful. The country’s economic condition is turning from bad to worse. He added that the country was speedily running towards destruction.