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Toshakhana reference: NAB court declares Nawaz Sharif ‘proclaimed offender’

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been declared ‘proclaimed offender’ in Toshakhana reference by an accountability court in Islamabad besides indicting four accused persons including former president Asif Ali Zardari and former premier Yousaf Raza Gillani, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

The accountability court conducted the hearing of Toshakhana reference today against prominent political personalities including Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif over allegedly obtaining luxury vehicles from the treasury by paying 15 per cent of the actual price, whereas, the former premier Yousaf Raza Gillani had allegedly facilitated the allotment of the cars to both of them.

Former president and Pakistan People’s Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and ex-premier Yousaf Raza Gillani appeared in the hearing conducted by the accountability court’s judge Asghar Ali.

During the hearing, the judge declared Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender in the case and sought details of his movable and immovable assets within a week.

Read: Toshakhana case: NAB court orders confiscation of Zardari, Nawaz vehicles

Moreover, the accountability court also issued a non-bailable warrant for the arrest of the former premier Nawaz Sharif.

Judge Asghar Ali remarked that the court will indict other accused persons in Toshakhana reference after separating the case related to Nawaz Sharif.

However, the accused persons have denied the charges in the courtroom.

Yousaf Raza Gillani appeared at the rostrum and said that he has never violated the rules and regulations while approving the summary. He argued that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed the reference without considering rules of business.

Read: Zardari seeks acquittal in Park Lane case, indictment deferred

The judge remarked that merits are not being debated in the hearing regarding the summary and it will be questioned during the trial.

Later, Asif Ali Zardari signed surety bonds after being indicted in the Toshakhana reference.

The accountability court summoned three witnesses including Waqarul Hassan Shah, Zubair Siddiqui and Imran Zafar on September 24 and adjourned the hearing.

Earlier, the anti-corruption watchdog presented a probe report regarding Nawaz Sharif in Toshakhana reference before the court today.

The report stated that Nawaz Sharif was fully aware of his expected arrest which led him to file a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for challenging to advertise a summon issued by the accountability court.

Read: Toshakhana case: Nawaz Sharif challenges NAB’s summon

According to the NAB report, Sharif had not responded to the questionnaire sent by the investigators in the case. The questionnaire had been handed over to Nawaz Sharif when he sought more time to consult his lawyer after being interrogated in Kot Lakhpat Jail on July 5 last year. However, the PML-N supremo had kept excusing to respond by telling the investigators for not concluding legal consultation.

Toshakhana reference

The NAB team said in its report that maximum efforts are being made to produce Nawaz Sharif before the court, however, he is deliberately avoiding the appearance in the hearings.

The prominent political personalities including Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif are accused of illegally obtaining luxury vehicles from the treasury by paying 15 per cent of the actual price, whereas, the former premier Yousaf Raza Gillani had allegedly facilitated the allotment of the cars to both of them.

Zardari had received expensive cars as a gift from Libya and the UAE as president but did not deposit it in the Tosha Khana, the sources added.

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