LAHORE   -  An accountability court yesterday approved one-day transit remand of Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif so that he could attend the session in Islamabad the same evening.

Presiding over the court, judge Muhammad Azam allowed remand on the application moved by superintendent Central Jail Kot Lakhpat on the ground that speaker National Assembly had sought production of Shehbaz Sharif in the assembly to attend the session.

The court granted one-day transit remand 0f Shehbaz while directing the authorities to adopt proper security measures to take him to the Parliament. A NAB special prosecutor, Waris Ali Janjua, told media persons that Shehbaz was not produced before the court owing to security concerns.

The court had, on December 6, sent Shehbaz to jail on judicial remand denying his further physical remand to the NAB in Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam. The court had observed that investigators did not show any progress in investigation during the period of last physical remand and the instant case was based on documentary record, which had already been collected by the investigator. The court sought production of Shehbaz on Dec 13.

In a related development, Justice Mamoonur Rashid Sheikh of the Lahore High Court on Monday asked the petitioner to satisfy the court as to what law could deprive an elected person from the right to represent his constituency in the assembly.

The petitioner, lawyer Azhar Siddique had challenged the act of NA speaker of issuing production orders for the attendance of Shehbaz in the sessions during his physical remand. He argued that production order could not be issued when an accused was in physical custody. He said due to transit remand, the NAB also could not complete investigation as most of the time the accused was in assembly sessions.

To a court’s query, the lawyer pointed out that he had submitted three applications to the NA speaker in this regard but he took no action.

Justice Sheikh asked the lawyer to apprise whether a session of the assembly could be held without presence of leader of the opposition. “Do you mind if an under trial prisoner attends session of the National Assembly?” the judge further asked the lawyer.

“Is it not violation of fundamental rights if a person having people’s mandate is barred from attending the NA session?” the judge posed.

The counsel stated that Shehbaz had been making wrong use of opportunity to attend the session by speaking against state institutions in the house in violation of the assembly rules.

A deputy attorney general requested the court to refer the matter to a division bench as the petitioner had also made the NAB as party.

Justice Sheikh adjourned further hearing till December 14 directing law officer to advance arguments on the jurisdiction of the single bench and allowed the petitioner-lawyer to amend the petition.