ISLAMABAD - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday said that despite lapse of six months, no corruption charge could be proved against him so far, terming all the ongoing corruption references part of a “grand design”.

The former prime minister expressed these views after appearing before the Accountability Court Islamabad in corruption references filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau.

He said that six months have passed since the corruption references were filed but no charge was proved against him so far. What charges are there against him, he questioned, adding had there been any corruption proof against him it would have been proved within two months but now they have obtained another two months extension.

Talking about election of Senate chairman and deputy chairman, the former prime minister said that he personally wants to see Pakistan People’s Party leader Raza Rabbani as the next chairman as he fulfills the criteria for leading the parliament’s upper house. “He is committed 100 percent to the Constitution and does not have anti-democracy credentials,” he added.

To a question about Asif Ali Zardari’s refusal to appoint Rabbani, Sharif said: “If his leadership does not want to place him there then we will find someone like him from our own fold.”

He said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has a majority party in the Senate and it has the right to field its candidate for the slot of chairman. For this purpose, he said, he was in consultation with Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Hasil Bizenjo and Maulana Fazlur Rehman for leadership of the Upper House.

Nawaz said that for the seat of Senate chairman, they want to see a person who has undeterred commitment with the Constitution and law of Pakistan. He must not be a person with anti-democracy approach so that this country may progress. A week person at the seat of Chairman Senate will not serve the purpose, he added.

In the beginning of his talk to the media, he provided an opportunity to the federal minister for privatisation Daniyal Aziz to talk to journalists.

While referring to a statement of JIT Head Wajid Zia, Daniyal Aziz said the JIT chief investigator himself admitted that the volume X of JIT report regarding Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) has gone irrelevant because many foreign countries, which were dispatched letters by the JIT for seeking MLA, had declined to provide any assistance as the MLAs were not in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

He said that one of the countries termed the Panama issue a political case while others declined to cooperate in this regard.  He said that in the supplementary reference once again they have showed that Maryam Nawaz is a dependent while Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in his April 20, 2017 decision had clearly said that Maryam Nawaz is not a dependent.

He continued that now this would be clear that why they were criticising the decision because justice was not done. Daniyal Aziz said that the JIT report had declared a trust deed regarding Avenfield apartments as fake while in cross-examination it is proved that the Calibri font was existing in 2005, he added. He said that the JIT misled the apex court that needs to be probed.

IHC ADMITS PLEA SEEKING CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST NAWAZ

The Islamabad High Court Thursday admitted for regular hearing a petition seeking to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Nawaz Sharif for allegedly criticising the superior judiciary of the country.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing in this matter and issued notices to respondents, including Secretary Ministry of Information, Press Council of Pakistan and Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to submit their reply in this matter.

Justice Aamer observed in his verdict: “Instant petition has been filed under Article 204(2b) of the Constitution for initiation of contempt proceedings against respondent No 1 (Nawaz Sharif) whereas prayer has been sought against respondents No 2, and 4 for directing them to ensure compliance of Code of Conduct.”

The bench added: “The petitioner shall assist the court whether direction can be issued in the contempt proceedings? Office is directed to obtain report from respondent No 2 to 4.

Petitioner Makhdoom Niaz Inqalabi moved this petition in person and made former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Secretary Ministry of Information, Press Council of Pakistan and Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) as respondents.

In his petition, he prayed to the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the former premier under article 204 (2b) of the constitution that reads: “A court shall have the power to punish any person who (a) abuses, interferes with or obstruct the process of the court in any way or (b) scandalise the court or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the court or a judge of the court into hatred, ridicule or contempt.”

He maintained in his petition that on February 15, Nawaz Sharif while talking to the media had said: “The judges are committing contempt of their own position and stature. PCO judges should not teach us lessons of morality and ethics. If Chief Justice uses the same language that Imran Khan uses against us, then there is no difference between the two. These people are after my presidency and I do not accept such decisions.”

He contended that all these statements fall under the contempt of court law and to scandalise the courts. These statements were live telecasted on TV channels and published in the newspapers.

Therefore, he requested the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the former prime minister and to direct the PEMRA not to telecast his speeches.