Pakistan

Court likely to declare Sharif’s sons proclaimed offenders in graft references today

Hussain Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court here on Wednesday (today) is likely to declare Hassan and Hussain Nawaz – former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s sons – as ‘proclaimed offender’ as the deadline to turn up before the court in three graft references had already lapsed.

Three references have been filed against the scions of Sharif family by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in compliance of the Supreme Court’s landmark July 28 verdict in Panama Papers case.

Earlier on Nov 10, the deadline to Sharif’s sons asking them to appear before the court expired.

On Oct 11, the court had issued a notification to the brothers that in case of any apathetic attitude towards its notices, the summons would be published in the newspapers to ensure their appearance before the court. Failure to do so would result in confiscation of property and issuance of further warrants.

The brothers Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz have been failed to show up at the court so far, despite the issuance of a proclamation against them last month after the court declared them absconders for their perpetual absence during the graft proceedings.

NAB

NAB Notice pasted on gate of Sharif’s residences at Jati Umra and Model Town in Lahore on October 11, 2017.

The court may also order seizure of their properties today after an expiry of the deadline given to the brothers to turn up before the accountability court.

Last hearing

At the last hearing on Tuesday, the NAB prosecutor requested the court for assets forfeiture of Hassan and Hussain Nawaz’s property after they failed to turn up before the court despite deadline lapsed.

He said that the notice calling upon the brothers to surrender and attend court proceedings had also been pasted outside the Sharifs’ various residences and sent to London through the Foreign Office.

The prosecutor also submitted a report containing details of the properties owned by the brothers. The report said neither of the brothers owns properties in the Lahore Development Authority or the Defence Housing Authority.

Hussain Nawaz, however, has four bank accounts in a local private bank. One account holds $3,992, the second holds 4,272 euros, the third has 207.53 pounds while the fourth has Rs382,381 in it,” the report read.

The anti-corruption watchdog had made all due efforts to get the suspects to cooperate with the court, hence the court should confiscate now their properties, prosecutor asked Judge Muhammad Bashir.

The judge then adjourned hearing till Wednesday (today).

Foreign nationality 

Earlier, Hassan Nawaz in apparent self-defence adopted a stance over the court’s ruling that he was a foreign national and NAB orders did not apply on him.

“I and my [elder] brother are foreign national, how can NAB laws could be applied on us. NAB cannot make someone a proclaimed offender, its like catching a black cat in the dark,” he told journalists in London.

He had also claimed of not receiving summons from the anti-graft watchdog at his London residence.

Similar sentiments were also echoed by the former premier’s daughter, stating that her brothers were foreign nationals and Pakistani laws could not be implemented on them.

On the flip side, many PML-N leaders have been making hue and cry about NAB’s actions, viewing it as political victimisation against former PM Sharif and his family members.

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