Monday, October 3, 2022

Embattled Sharifs meet in Ministers’ Enclave ahead of graft verdict

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ISLAMABAD: Deposed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif at the latter’s residence in the Ministers’ Enclave on Sunday.

Citing sources, ARY News reported that the Sharif brothers discussed forthcoming verdict of the accountability court in the Al-Azizia and Flagship references and future course of action if it convicts the former premier.

The meeting comes a day before the accountability court is due to pronounce its verdict in remaining graft cases against the PML-N supreme leader and members of his family on Dec 24 (Monday).

It is pertinent to mention here that the house of the opposition leader in the Ministers’ Enclave has been declared a sub-jail to detain the younger Sharif during his stay in Islamabad.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik will pronounce the verdict which he reserved on Dec 19 after both defence and prosecution sides completed their final arguments in the cases.

While hearing the former premier’s plea for submission of some documents related to the Sharif family’s UK properties on Dec 11, the judge rejected the verbal request to defer pronouncement of the judgment for a couple of days.

A total of 22 witnesses recorded their statements in the Al-Azizia reference, while 16 witnesses recorded their depositions in the Flagship reference.

Mr Sharif opted not to present any defence in both cases. However, his lawyer Khawaja Haris presented a rebuttal to allegations levelled by the prosecution against his client.

Over the course of the trial, the PML-N supreme leader defended the accusation of being real owner and beneficiary of the offshore properties, which he maintained belongs to his sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz.

He said the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), tasked to probe his wealth, had declared him as the real owner of Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, but he was not the owner nor was a he “benamidaar” of both the properties.

He added that the NAB failed to present any evidence to prove that he owned both the businesses.

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