ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed on Wednesday an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision of the Lahore High Court quashing the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif family.
The petition names former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Shehbaz’s son and MNA Hamza Shehbaz, among other family members, as respondents.
The NAB has pleaded the Supreme Court to dismiss the LHC’s decision to quash the case and order a reinvestigation into the scam as per the new evidence which surfaced in the Panama case Joint Investigation Team report.
On Friday, NAB assured the Supreme Court that it will be filing the appeal in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.
The assurance was made by NAB’s prosecutor general during the hearing of Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh Rasheed’s petition in the court seeking re-opening of the case.
The matter was heard by the five-judge bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, that was hearing review petitions against the court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case.
Sources said that after the apex court rules on the appeal, the anti-graft body will be able to pursue the case once more.
Rasheed had submitted a petition in the apex court which stated that on July 21, during the hearing of the Panama Papers case, NAB had informed the apex court it would reply in seven days regarding the reopening of the Hudaibiya case.
However, the bureau failed to reply within the stated time period and NAB chairman was even sent a notice in this regard but that too has yet to be replied to, the petitioner claimed.
Moreover, it was stated in the petition that the apex court had also directed for probing the Hudaibiya case in its July 28 judgment.
NAB to not reopen case
Earlier, Geo News reported that NAB had decided not to reopen the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif family.
The decision was taken by NAB authorities on the grounds that earlier in October 2011, a Rawalpindi division bench of the LHC restrained the accountability court from proceeding in the matter after Nawaz Sharif and members of his family challenged the revival of the references and requested the court to quash the cases.
NAB authorities also stated that the Supreme Court had not clearly directed to reopen the Hudaibiya case in its July 28 judgment.
The anti-graft watchdog’s prosecution branch had also given its advice on the case.
Hudaibiya Paper Mills case
The Hudaibiya Paper Mills was allegedly used as a cover by the Sharif family to launder money outside the country in the 1990s.
It was in relation to this case that the Sharif family’s trusted aide, Ishaq Dar, recorded a confessional statement on April 25, 2000 in front of a magistrate in Lahore.
On the basis of that confession, a reference was filed by the NAB before an accountability court against the Hudabiya Paper Mills, three Sharif brothers, Dar and others.
That reference was struck down by the Lahore High Court on March 11, 2014 in response to a writ petition filed in 2011 stating that Dar confession was coerced.
Dar had claimed that he had made the ‘confession’ in duress and disowned the statement.