AC reserves verdict on Nawaz plea

ISLAMABAD – Accountability Court Islamabad Tuesday reserved judgment on former prime minister Nawaz Sharif plea seeking clubbing of all the three corruption references against him, after hearing arguments from both defence and prosecution counsels.

The court would meet again today (Wednesday) and would likely announce verdict on the subject.

Although on previous date of hearing, Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir exempted Nawaz Sharif and other accused, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (retd) Safdar, for Tuesday as the court was to take up the issue of clubbing of the references issue but Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt Safdar appeared before the court and spent well over couple of hours hearing his counsel giving arguments in support of clubbing the three references.

As soon as Kh Haris, counsel of Sharif family, concluded his arguments Nawaz along with his daughter and son-in-law left the courtroom.

Extraordinary security arrangements were in place and besides heavy cordon of the area stringent measures were taken to only permit the people with permission cards to enter the court premises.

At the outer security checkpoint, a large number of PML-N workers and leaders have gathered to have a glimpse of their leader who arrived in a heavy cavalcade comprising his personal security staff.

Interestingly, this time around all the three came in one vehicle while on previous dates of hearing Capt Safdar used to come separately and in a same fashion moved out.

Judge Muhammad Bashir took up the Nawaz Sharif’s plea seeking clubbing together of all three references, including Avenfield property, Flagship Investment and Azizia Steel Mills in light of Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgment to re-hear the case.

Counsel Kh Harris contented before the court that the charges levelled against the Sharif family were similar in all three references. “The references are related to different assets but the accused are same.”

Harris said that nine and 13 witnesses have been named in the Flagship Investment Ltd reference and Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference, respectively. Six witnesses are common in both references and three are common with those of Avenfield flats reference.

He argued that the same witnesses have to appear in different references separately if three references were not clubbed. He said a single trail should be conducted against his clients.

Harris contended that the three cases should be clubbed and heard together as they were similar in nature, saying the defence and the prosecution of the three references were also the same.

After Khawaja Harris completed his arguments, Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar left the courtroom with permission of the court.

Later, opposing the defence counsel’s arguments, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor Waqas Malik said that although the primary accused in all references is same yet references were separated due to different crimes and transactions.

He said each nominated person had an individual role in each asset and Al Azizia Steel Mills reference.

The prosecutor argued that the witnesses are common in three references but they have to provide different documents for the case record. He said as Hassan and Hussain Nawaz had not joined the court proceeding, the three cases couldn’t be clubbed for hearing.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the court reserved its judgment, which would likely to be announced on Wednesday.

A two-member bench of IHC had ordered the accountability court to re-hear the case in accordance of section 17-D and suspended its decision for separating the three references.

The AC was hearing three references against Sharif family members filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8 in compliance with the Supreme Court July 28 judgment in the Panama papers case.

The court had indicted Nawaz Sharif in two references and his daughter Maryam and Safdar in one reference.



AC reserves verdict on Nawaz’s plea

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