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Accountability court resumes hearing references against Nawaz, Maryam

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court resumed the trial proceedings in the corruption references filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and members of his family after the Islamabad High Court rejected his request for merging three references into one.

As the hearing began, Judge Muhammad Bashir inquired about the whereabouts of Sharif and his daughter. On which, their counsel replied they were on the way to the court.

Earlier in the day, as Judge Muhammad Bashir resumed the hearing Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris pleaded that the Islamabad High Court is to announce today its verdict on a petition pertaining to the merger of three references into one and the trial court should adjourn the hearing until the pronouncement of the verdict.

The judge, thus, allowed his plea and adjourned the hearing till 1:00 pm.

Sharif reached the court along with his daughter from Islamabad airport amidst a heavy protocol after they arrived from Lahore. He left the venue after the hearing was postponed.

At the last hearing, the court adjourned the hearing after Sharif’s counsel requested to suspend the trial proceedings until the high court announces its verdict on the plea for merging three references into one.

Advocate Saad Hashmi, who represented Sharif in absence of Khawaja Haris, submitted that the IHC had reserved its verdict on the joint trial plea and the trial court must not record testimonies of witnesses until the judgment is announced.

NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar objected to the plea, saying the high court had not restrained the court from proceedings in the cases.

On November 23, the IHC had reserved a judgment on an appeal by the ousted premier to merge the references against him into one.

On Nov 22, the accountability court recorded the statements of Mohammad Rasheed, Mazhar Raza Khan Bangash, Shahbaz Haider Chaudhry and Tayyab in the Avenfiled flats reference. Subsequently, Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris cross-examined them.

Sharif and his daughter filed applications to amend the dates for their exemption from personal appearance.

On Nov 15, the court granted Maryam exemption for one month while Nawaz Sharif for a week. However, they appeared before the accountability court and requested it to grant exemption from Dec 5.

Maryam and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar have been named in a single corruption reference pertaining to the Sharif family’s London properties. Whereas, Sharif and his two sons – Hassan and Hussain – have been nominated in three references related to the London flats, Al-Aziza Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment.

NAB has already initiated the process of declaring Hussain and Hassan proclaimed offenders.

On Oct 9, the accountability court ordered NAB to initiate the process of declaring the former premier’s sons proclaimed offenders over their perpetual absence from the trial proceedings in three graft references.



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