ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and Capt (retd) Safdar arrived today at an accountability court in connection with the trial proceedings in the references filed against them by the NAB.
Judge Muhammad Bashir recorded the testimonies of two prosecution witnesses, including Sidra Mansoor, an official of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and Jahangir Ahmed of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Inland Revenue Department.
The Sharif family’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, cross examined Sidra, whereas Ahmed has been summoned again on Nov 22 for cross-examination.
Sharif, Maryam granted exemption
The court also granted Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam exemption from court proceedings, who had filed separate pleas seeking exemption from presence in the future trial proceedings.
In his application, the former prime minister contended that he wanted to travel to London to see his ailing wife who is to undergo chemotherapy. He requested the court to grant him exemption till Nov 27.
Whereas, Maryam requested the court to allow Jahangir Jadoon to represent her in case she is unable to appear before it.
The NAB prosecutor opposed their pleas, contending that neither of the accused person was ill and entitled to such relief. Thus, he requested that they should not exempted from the court hearing.
After hearing arguments, the bench allowed their applications, exempting Maryam for one month and her father for seven days from future court proceedings.
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.
Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Safdar were driven to the court in cavalcade, where a number of PML-N leaders, including federal ministers and party activists gathered to show support for their leader.
At the previous hearing, the judge formally framed charges against Nawaz Sharif in his presence in all the three references separately and got his signs on the copies of the indictment orders.
When the accountability court judge read out the charge-sheet, the former prime minister rejected all the charges against him and pleaded not guilty.
He told the judge that his right to fair trial as well as his fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution was denied. The references filed against him were politically motivated and based on malafide intentions, he added.
Earlier, when Sharif was in London in connection with treatment of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz, he was indicted in the graft references through his pleader Zafir Khan on October 19 and 20 respectively.
Plea for merging three references into one
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a day earlier challenged the decision of the accountability court which rejected his plea to merge all the three references filed against him into one.
This is the second time Sharif approached the IHC seeking directives for the trial court to conduct a join trial of all the three references. Earlier, the high court had accepted his petition and ordered the trial court to reconsider his request for request.
On Nov 8, the accountability court’s Judge Muhammad Bashir rejected the Sharif’s application for joint trial and framed charges against him in each of the three references.
His counsel argued that the accountability court did not take into account the IHC judgment while deciding against the joint trial.
The court gave its judgment in a rush and thus it be annulled, he contended.