LAHORE - A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team that had come all the way from Islamabad to start investigation of the matters concerning the London flats of the Sharif family went back to the federal capital empty-handed as none of the Sharif family members who were respondents in the case turned up once again at the Thokar Niaz Beg offices of the anti-graft agency on Sunday, where elaborate security arrangements had been made.

Those who were required to appear before the NAB team included Mian Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hussain and Hassan, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt Safdar.

This was the second time that the Sharifs did not show up. A Sharif family spokesman has been quoted as saying that the respondents had received no notice from the NAB and that they would appear only after a decision on their review petition filed in the Supreme Court.

It is said that the NAB would issue another notice to the Sharifs and in case they ignored it too the Bureau would submit its report to the apex court.

However, a NAB investigator said on the condition of anonymity that nothing would happen if the Sharifs stayed away from the investigations. He said the relevant law would be invoked to proceed against the respondents.

A NAB officer seeking anonymity said that if Nawaz Sharif and his family members do not appear even after the third summons of the Bureau there would be no action against them under section 31A of the NAB Ordinance 1999.

The officer said under section 31A if someone does not comply with the NAB summons he was supposed to be punished for three years, but in the past the Supreme Court had set aside such punishments given in trial in absentia. Another officer said that it is in the powers of the NAB chairman to issue orders for arrest of an accused even during his investigation. But in that case NAB was bound to file reference within 90 days of his arrest, he added.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had disqualified Mr Sharif as prime minister in the Panama Papers case and ordered framing of references against the above-mentioned members.

The Sharif family has filed a review petition before the Supreme Court, which is yet to come up for hearing. It is expected that the petition would be taken up next month at the end of summer vacations.

Earlier, the former prime minister and his sons Hussain and Hassan also were summoned for Friday in a separate case involving graft and money laundering charges, but they had failed to appear before the NAB.

A NAB spokesman has been quoted as saying that the Bureau would continue summoning the Sharif family in different cases involving money laundering and corruption charges.

“We are investigating the Sharif family in different corruption cases on the order of the Supreme Court,” he said.

The former prime minister, in a letter to NAB, has said he would join its investigation after a decision by the Supreme Court on his review petition against its July 28 verdict.

“My family members and I will join the NAB investigation once the Supreme Court decides my review petition against my disqualification,” Sharif had said in the letter.

In a related development, the NAB on Sunday summoned Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to appear before investigators on August 22 for a probe into his assets and funds.

This is the second time Dar has been summoned by the Bureau as it begins its inquiry into the property and assets of the Sharif family and the finance minister.

Dar had previously been summoned to appear before investigators on August 18 but he did not show up.

Three references are to be filed against members of the Sharif family in relation to their property and assets abroad, NAB has been ordered to file a fourth reference against Dar as the JIT, in its report, had said that the finance minister possessed assets and funds that exceeded his known sources of income.

The JIT, in its report, stated that Dar had invested 5.5 million British pounds in Baraq Holdings in the UAE, but the source of these funds was not disclosed; it was only revealed that around 4.97 million pounds were given to him by his son.