ISLAMABAD: A divisional bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday reserved its verdict over a plea filed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, seeking to halt the indictment proceedings against him in an accountability court.
Earlier in the hearing the counsels of Nawaz Sharif and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) completed their preliminary arguments before a two-member bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani and Justice Aamer Farooq.
In the last hearing, the bench heard the petition filed through ex-PM Sharif’s representative Zafir Khan and issued notices to the federal government.
On Oct 25, Sharif’s representative Zafir Khan filed as many as three pleas, challenging the NAB court’s indictment in the corruption references.
The ousted premier through his representative had pleaded the IHC to declare the NAB court’s ruling as unlawful, besides clubbing three graft references into one.
Moreover, the former premier, in his petitions, had also pleaded for a single trial on a single charge rather than three.
On Oct 19, the NAB court indicted ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar in a reference regarding Avenfield apartments in London.
It is apropos to mention here that the reference relates to the Avenfield properties (flats 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, United Kingdom).
The court then indicted Sharif in another reference regarding Aziza Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment.
However, Sharif’s lawyer Zafir Khan – who was representing him in his absence – pleaded ‘not guilty’ soon after the charge was framed.
Reference consolidation plea in SC
A similar plea has also been submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan by ex-PM Sharif, seeking consolidation of three concurrent graft references.
The petition was filed through ex-PM Sharif’s legal team, stating that filling multiple references on a single allegation, possessing assets beyond known sources of income, is the sheer breach of Section 9 (a) (5) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO).
The petition pleads for suspension of the accountability court proceedings until the three references are incorporated into a single corruption reference.
Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar are nominated in a single corruption reference in connection with London properties.
In an earlier hearing, the court granted bail to the couple in the reference after submission of surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.
Moreover, the court also directed Safdar to seek the court’s permission before leaving the country.
On the other hand, ex-PM Sharif and his two sons – Hasan and Hussain Nawaz – have also been nominated in two other references regarding the Aziza Steel Mills, Hill Metals Establishment, and nearly dozen other companies owned by the Sharif family.
Ousted PM Sharif could face lifetime disqualification from holding a public office including the freezing of bank accounts, besides 14 years imprisonment over conviction in the references.