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Supreme Court seeks complete record of Hudaibiya Paper Mills case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to present the complete record of Hudaibiya Paper Mills case before it on next hearing.

A bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, was hearing an application of the NAB challenging the Lahore High Court’s verdict, quashing the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya corruption reference against the ruling family.

The bench directed the NAB prosecutor to produce entire record of the case, details about the public offices the accused named in the reference held, and the original complaint filed against them with NAB.

It adjourned the hearing till Dec 11 on the request of the NAB prosecutor who sought time to submit details and prepare himself to answer the queries put to him by the judges.

The NAB through its Prosecutor General Waqas Qadeer Dar had filed the appeal, pleading the top court to grant leave to appeal to examine the legality, propriety and vires of the 2014 LHC verdict quashing the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case and set aside the impugned judgement.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Shamim Akhtar, mother of Nawaz, Shahbaz and late Abbas Sharif, Maryam Safdar, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Hudaibiya Paper Mills Ltd, the federal government and others have been named as respondents in the appeal.

According to the Hudaibiya reference, the Sharif family had been accused of setting up Hudaibiya Paper Mills Ltd to launder money.

A joint investigation team set up to investigate the Sharif family’s offshore properties had recommended in its report that the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case should be investigated afresh.

Subsequently, a Supreme Court bench hearing the Panama Papers case had asked the bureau to reopen the case.

The Musharraf government had launched an investigation against the Sharif family members back in 2000 for their alleged involvement in money-laundering.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is a close aide and relative of the Sharifs, had given a confessional statement before a magistrate, alleging that Sharif brothers used the Hudaibiya Paper Mills as cover for money laundering during late 1990s.

Dar later retracted his statement and claimed that the statement was gleaned under duress.

Justice Khosa recuses himself from bench

On November 13, a bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan was dissolved after Justice Khosa recused himself from the bench and referred the matter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for constituting another bench.

Justice Khosa had observed that the appeal has been wrongly fixed before him. Since he had suggested in the April 20 judgment in the Panama Papers case that the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case required to be re-investigated, thus he cannot hear the appeal to this effect, he remarked.



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