LAHORE         -         An accountability court on Friday granted exemption from personal appearance to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.

Special Judge Accountability Court Ameer Muhammad Khan exempted Nawaz Sharif for a period of four weeks and Maryam Nawaz till filing of the reference by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the CSM case. Maryam Nawaz appeared before the court while her cousin Yousaf Abbas was produced by the authorities concerned.

About the status of the reference, the court questioned NAB Prosecutor Hafiz Asadullah Awan who submitted that investigation was underway. He added that the reference would be filed after completion of the investigation.

An application on behalf of Maryam Nawaz was submitted for her exemption from personal appearance till filing of the reference. Through another application, the court was also requested to exempt Nawaz Sharif from his personal appearance.

On the PML-N leader’s plea, the NAB official submitted that Maryam must appear in the court according to the law and that the bureau would submit a written response to the plea.

Amjad Pervaiz representing the applicant/accused pleaded that NAB had not filed the supplementary reference so far, and there was no need for summoning the accused. He argued that as per the criminal law, an accused is not required to appear in the court until a challan or charge-sheet is filed.

Amjad Pervez added that whenever his client has to appear before the court, the roads have to be closed.

The judge referring to Nawaz Sharif’s exemption application asked why the former premier did not appear in the court. The defence counsel submitted that his client had gone abroad for his medical treatment following an order of a Lahore High Court division bench. He further stated that Nawaz Sharif would return on completion of the treatment process and when the doctors recommend that he could return to Pakistan.

To a court query, the NAB prosecutor pleaded that the bureau would file written response to both the applications.

However, the court asked the NAB official to advance arguments on the applications and rejected his arguments for seeking the court permission to file written reply to the applications.

The prosecutor then submitted that if someone had been granted bail, he is legally required to appear before the court and face the trial.

After hearing the arguments, the court exempted Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz from their personal appearance and adjourned further proceedings until December 6. The court als directed the NAB to file the reference as soon as possible.

The court also extended judicial remand of Yousuf Abbas till the next date of hearing.

In the CSM case, Maryam Nawaz, being main shareholder of the mills, is accused of laundering money through investment of heavy amounts.

as per the NAB allegations, she was involved in money laundering with the help of some foreigners during the period of 1992-93 when her father Nawaz Sharif was the premier.