FIA decides not to further pursue money laundering case against PM Shehbaz, Hamza.

ISLAMABAD -- The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has decided not to prosecute Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz in the Rs16 billion money laundering case, according to a letter written by the special prosecutor which is now part of the case record.

According to a written application, dated April 11, 2022, submitted in court, the FIA director general (DG), via the investigating officer, told Special Prosecutor Sikander Zulqarnain Saleem not to appear in court as the "accused in the case are going to be elected the prime minister of Pakistan and chief minister of Punjab".

"The concerned quarters are not interested to prosecute the accused persons," it stated, requesting that these instructions be made part of the case record.

Earlier this week, FIA former director Mohammad Rizwan, who probed the charges against Shehbaz and his son, died of a heart attack.

The FIA had booked PM Shehbaz and his sons, Hamza and Suleman, in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 of Prevention of Corruption Act and read with 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act. Suleman Shehbaz is absconding in the UK.

Fourteen others had also been named in the FIR under sections 5(2) and 5(3) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The special court had on Jan 27 granted pre-arrest bail to Shehbaz and Hamza in the case.

After the agency submitted its request April 11, the court took the application on record and annexed it with the case.

The FIA has issued a press release repudiating the development, saying that the "case has not been withdrawn" and court proceedings were ongoing, with the next hearing on May 14.

The watchdog warned it could take legal action against those involved in proliferating the news regarding the letter.

"On April 11, the prosecutor of the case submitted...

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