ISLAMABAD -  Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's lawyer Monday argued before the Islamabad High Court that similarities have been noted between the Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment references -  both on-going in accountability courts in Islamabad - and therefore, they should be combined.

A two-member bench of the high court was hearing a petition filed by the former premier challenging an accountability court's decision against clubbing three corruption references against Sharif into one.

Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar told the bench that an accountability court had noted the similarities between the references, arguing that at least these two references should be combined. The lawyer pointed out that the references list the same three individuals as accused and added that six out of 13 witnesses in both references were also the same.

"If the witnesses appear over and over again [before the accountability court] to record their testimonies, my defence will be exposed," Advocate Tarar said.

The lawyer told the bench that the accountability court had decided against clubbing the three references - Avenfield, Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment - without waiting for the Islamabad High Court's verdict on the matter.

Advocate Tarar told the court that the petition submitted by the former premier in the Supreme Court held a different request. He added that in the apex court, the chief justice had maintained the the registrar office's objections to the petition ? that the petitioner had already exhausted all legal remedies up to the Supreme Court and had not approached any other appropriate forum available to him under the law for the same relief ? and rejected Sharif's appeal.

The lawyer further argued that the references were filed in light of the apex court's verdict in the Panama Papers. "Nowhere in the verdict did it say that this is a special case with special rules," Tarar said, adding that in the Khanani and Kalia case, there were different transactions but one case was filed.

The court said that the matter pertaining to similarities between the Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment references will be taken up at the next hearing of the case. "We will have to see on what grounds the accountability court dismissed the request to combine the references," the court said, adjourning the hearing until November 23.