Nawaz Sharif reaches accountability court for hearing of corruption cases | Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing three corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family will resume its proceedings today. 

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case.

Nawaz and his two sons, Hussain and Hasan, are nominated in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and her husband MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are only accused in one.

Despite being exempted from appearance, the former premier is attending today’s hearing. 

Four prosecution witnesses have been summoned today to record their statements.

At the last hearing on November 15, the court had accepted Nawaz and his daughter Maryam’s request to be exempted from personal appearance.

The two had sought exemption on the account of the medical condition of Nawaz’s wife, Kulsoom, who is undergoing treatment for lymphoma in London.

The court allowed Nawaz to be exempted for a week and Maryam for a month. 

Also at the last hearing, Hussain and Hasan Nawaz were declared proclaimed offenders due to their continuous absence.

The references

The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.

The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.

Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar’s bail in the Avenfiled properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.

Safdar was also directed to take the court’s permission before leaving the country from now on. The judge also provided a copy of the reference — spread over 53 volumes — to Maryam and Safdar.

NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.

Its Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.

If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.  

News Reporter

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