ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court on Thursday reserved its verdict in former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s petition seeking framing of joint charges and joint trial in the three references pending before the Accountability Court.

The IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of the petition and reserved the judgment after hearing the arguments of both sides.

During the hearing, National Accountability Bureau Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abassi contended before the court that AC had already started recording statements of the witnesses in all the three references and this application seeking joint trial and joint charges has gone infructuous.

At this, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani asked from legal counsel for Nawaz Sharif that what impact it would make if all the witnesses record their statements and produce evidence and then this court accepts this petition.

Azam Nazir Tarrar, counsel for Nawaz Sharif answered in Urdu poetry saying ‘Kee merey Qatal Kay Baad Us Ne Jafa Se Touba…..Hye Us Zood-Pesheman Ka, Pesheman Hona’. 

In his petition, the former Prime Minister also prayed to the court to set aside a verdict of AC dated November 8 through which the court had rejected his application for a joint trial . He nominated state through Chairman NAB and Accountability Court No 1 judge as respondents.

Nawaz Sharif adopted that he is aggrieved of an accountability court order dated November 8 through which AC had turned down his application of joint framing of charges and joint trial in three corruption references filed against him regarding alleged offences of same kind.

He added that through the application, the petitioner had also been seeking deletion of section 9(a)(v) from the charges in corruption reference number 20.

He contented in his petition that in all the three references it was alleged that the properties acquired from 2001 till 2009 (with remittances covering from 2009 till 2015) in the name of benamdars Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz were actually owned by the petitioner and were disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Petitioner added that each reference is supplemented by a nine volume Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report with common prosecution witnesses. Similarly petitioner’s defence against each allegation is also same.

He maintained that the offences under section 9(a)(v) and all precedents pertaining thereto, a single offence can be framed against the accused irrespective of the nature and number of the assets alleged to be owned by the accused.

The former prime minister said that on July 28, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had directed NAB to file three corruption references against him and co-accused whereas petitioner has challenged the order to the extent of filing three corruption references.

At this, the IHC bench questioned from petitioner’s counsel that when you already had filed a petition before the Supreme Court then what affect it would make when this court is hearing the same case. Then, petitioner’s counsel could not make a satisfactory response.

 

In the petition, Nawaz prayed to the court to set aside AC order dated November 8 through which AC had dismissed his application seeking joint trial and joint charges and had also deletion of section 9(a)(v).

He also prayed that AC judge may be directed to frame a single charge against the petitioner and conduct a single trial under section 17(d) of the national accountability ordinance.

The petitioner further prayed that a joint trial may be conducted to avoid conflicting judgment and proceedings may be suspended till framing of joint charges.