Accountability court issues arrest warrants for ex-PM Nawaz Sharif
ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Thursday issued the bailable arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in two graft references and directed police to produce him till November 3.
The arrest warrant for Sharif was issued in two references pertaining to Aziza Steel Mills and Flagship Investment Ltd.
At the outset of proceedings, Sharif submitted a plea through his lead counsel Khawaja Harris, seeking seven day exemption from personal appearance in the anti-graft court.
A medical report of Sharif’s wife was also submitted to the court.
The NAB prosecutor opposed the plea and contended that Sharif was deliberately evading the accountability proceedings.
The accountability court then rejected the plea and issued bailable arrest warrant for ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while directing police to produce the former premier till the next hearing into corruption references on Nov 3.
Two witnesses were expected to record their statements today. One of the witnesses is from Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and another from Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). However, the witnesses could not testify against Sharif family member in absence of the former premier.
Earlier today, Maryam Nawaz and her spouse Capt (r) Safdar reached the court premises separately.
The ousted premier’s daughter arrived at the accountability court in an extensive protocol amid stringent security measures, accompanying Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers and supporters.
The former premier is currently out of country, had skipped the court proceedings. Zafir Khan – his representative – pleaded not guilty after court indicted him in three corruption references.
As many as 400 Frontier Corps (FC) and police personnel have been deployed in and around the judicial complex for accountability proceedings today.
Three references were filed against the Sharif family members by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in compliance with the Supreme Court’s landmark July 28 verdict.
Indictment in three references
On Oct 19, the NAB court indicted deposed PM Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar in a reference regarding Avenfield apartments in London.
The charge sheet was read out in the courtroom in presence of Maryam Nawaz, her spouse Capt (r) Safdar, and Zafir Khan, who appeared on behalf of his client Nawaz Sharif.
Nawaz, through his representative, Maryam and Safdar rejected the charges by pleading ‘not guilty’.
According to the charge sheet, Maryam Nawaz was the sole beneficiary of Avenfield apartments in London and she submitted the forged documents with regard to trust deed of the London properties to the Panamagate JIT, using ‘Calibri font’.
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).
A day after on Oct 20, the former premier was indicted in the third reference with regard to the Flagship Investment Ltd.
Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar are nominated in a single corruption reference in connection with London properties.
On the other hand, ex-PM Sharif and his two sons – Hasan and Hussain Nawaz – have been nominated in two references regarding the Aziza Steel Mills, Hill Metals Establishment, and nearly dozen other companies owned by the Sharif family.
Ex-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.