ISLAMABAD - An accountability court Monday issued arrest warrants for deposed PM Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, sons and son-in-law for failing to appear before it in the corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

However, the court deferred until October 9 the indictment of Nawaz who made a second appearance over corruption charges.

Nawaz’ sons Hussain and Hassan, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar have been named in the case and are currently in London with their mother Kalsoom Nawaz.

The court issued non-bailable warrants for his sons and son-in-law while it issued bailable warrants for his daughter.

The corruption references against Sharifs included a reference about the London flats – numbered 16 and 16-A and 17 and 17-A at Avenfield House, Park Lane. The second is regarding Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Company, Jeddah, while the third reference is about Flagship Investment Limited and 15 other offshore companies.

A helicopter hovered over the capital court and supporters chanted slogans from behind security barriers as Nawaz arrived in a convoy of BMW SUVs, escorted by elite police guards.

Media along with many lawyers and officials – including Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal – were prevented from entering the court, with security forces forming a human barrier as the former premier entered.

At the outset of court proceedings, judge Muhammad Bashir inquired about the absence of Sharif family members. Defence counsel Khawaja Haris told the court that they (Hassan, Hussain, and Maryam) were with their mother in London.

The prosecution presented a report about court summons served on the accused at their London residence through the Pakistan High Commission and submitted that they (accused) were wilfully absconding court proceedings. The prosecution also gave arguments on the issue of bringing back the accused from abroad through Interpol and informed also the court about the non-existence of any extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK.

The court, however, did not come up with any written order in this connection. Similarly, it also did not pass any order on separating the trial of Nawaz from the rest of accused. The court was to indict the former prime minister in three corruption references, but as the rest of the accused did not turn up in the court, the matter of indictment was deferred.

Defence counsel Haris assured it that all the accused would appear before the court as they could not turn up because of the illness of Kalsoom.

Talking to the media after court proceedings, Parliamentary Secretary for Information Mohsin Shah said the court did not indict the ex-PM. He said the accountability court would take up the matter again at the next hearing.

Nawaz left again just over an hour and a half later without making any statement.  The Supreme Court deposed Nawaz in July following an investigation into corruption allegations against him and his family.

A mess was witnessed outside the court where a large number of party leaders, including ministers, gathered. Rangers personnel had been deployed outside the court.  The ex-PM  repeated his practice of turning up in a huge cavalcade. This time, however, the number of party activists was relatively less as compared to his first appearance.