Ramzan Sugar Mills case: Hearing against Shahbaz, Hamza put off till 17th

LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of the Ramzan Sugar Mills case against PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz till November 17. Jail authorities produced Hamza before the court. Additional Secretary Home Adnan Awan, SP Headquarters Jamil Zafar, SP Legal Muhammad Asif and Superintendent Kot Lakhpat Jail Aiaz Asghar also appeared before the court as they had been summoned on the last hearing. Hamza had refused to come to the court in an armoured vehicle on the last hearing due to which the court had summoned the said state functionaries. As the hearing commenced, the judge questioned why the under-trial prisoner was not produced before the court on the last hearing. To which, the jail superintendent said jail officials had handed over the accused to the police. The SP Headquarters responded that the accused himself is responsible for not appearing before the court. To which, the judge remarked: “If the accused wants petrol to ignite fire, you will provide him with petrol. The act of police has given the impression that the state has failed.”

Hamza intervened stating that the police officials are misguiding the court as he had not refused to come to the court. He said the police officials “deliberately” brought an armoured vehicle to transport him to the court despite knowing that he has backache. “They made me wait for two and a half hours,” he said. “For the past 17 months, I was being brought [to the court] in bullet-proof vehicles. Suddenly, they want to transport me in an armoured vehicle. Only I know how I have been surviving the coronavirus pandemic in jail. I take medications on my own without any medical facilitation.”

The judge questioned the additional secretary on the relevant laws or SOPs related to bringing a suspect/accused to courts, to which the secretary replied that there are no fixed rules yet.

The accountability court then directed authorities to create SOPs for the transportation of prisoners and differentiation among different classes of prisoners, and summoned again the officers at the next hearing on November 17.

This article originally appeared on The News International