Hearing of NAB references against former PM Nawaz, family adjourns till Wednesday

Pakistan       by Mahmood Idrees | Published

He said the court ruling also carried a message that seemed to suggest "Nawaz Sharif be punished at any cost".

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.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz submitted plea seeking exemption from the hearing, owing to the ongoing medical treatment of Kulsoom Nawaz in London.

The court started the trial even though the Islamabad High Court had accepted on Tuesday Sharif's application, in which he had challenged accountability court's refusal to club all three references into one.

Khawaja Haris, Counsel of former Prime Minister cross examined two prosecution witnesses today.

Moreover, Hussain and Hasan Nawaz were declared proclaimed offenders due to their continuous absence.

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Ahmad has been called to appear in court again in Nov 22 for cross-questioning in the next hearing of the case. She added that her legal representative, Jahangir Jadoon, will appear in the court in case she has to go overseas. And, his daughter Maryam and her husband are only accused in one.

The Sharifs then exited the court.

Mansoor recorded her statement in the Avenfield flats reference, telling the court that she had appeared before the Investigation Officer in Lahore on August 18, and provided NAB documents containing the Sharif family's financial records.

Mansur stated that the audit report of Hudaibiya Mills from 2000-2005 has been submitted to the accountability court which has forwarded it to NAB.

Following the recording of the statement, Mansoor was cross-examined. The court had also rejected the petition.

Responding to a journalist's question inside the court about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan's bail approval by the anti-terrorism court (ATC) yesterday, Nawaz said, "the courts have double standards".

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A number of workers and leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were present inside and outside the court premises to welcome the party president.

State Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and Railways Minister Saad Rafique, in separate brief media talks, aired their grievances against the "justice" being meted out to the former premier.

In his plea, Sharif's lawyer had argued that the Supreme Court's July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case had not asked the NAB to file the references separately. However, Nawaz denied all the charges pleading not guilty, saying that the proceeding was initiated on political basis.

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.

Judge Muhammad Bashir took up the Nawaz Sharif's plea seeking clubbing together of all three references, including Avenfield property, Flagship Investment and Azizia Steel Mills in light of Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgment to re-hear the case.

Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference.

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The petition said the accountability court's order was based on a gross misreading of the "facts" on which it was purportedly based. The judge also provided a copy of the reference - spread over 53 volumes - to Maryam and Safdar.

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