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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Safdar appeared today before an accountability court for the hearing into corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Sharif reached the court along with his daughter from Islamabad airport amidst a heavy protocol after they arrived from Lahore.
As Judge Muhammad Bashir resumed the hearing Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris pleaded that the Islamabad High Court is to announce today its verdict on a petition pertaining to the merger of three references into one and the trial court should adjourn the hearing until the pronouncement of the verdict.
The judge, thus, allowed his plea and adjourned the hearing till 1:00 pm.
The former prime minister, his daughter and Safdar left the venue after the hearing was postponed.
At the last hearing, the court adjourned the hearing after Sharif’s counsel requested to suspend the trial proceedings until the high court announces its verdict on the plea for merging three references into one.
Advocate Saad Hashmi, who represented Sharif in absence of Khawaja Haris, submitted that the IHC had reserved its verdict on the joint trial plea and the trial court must not record testimonies of witnesses until the judgment is announced.
NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar objected to the plea, saying the high court had not restrained the court from proceedings in the cases.
On November 23, the IHC had reserved a judgment on an appeal by the ousted premier to merge the references against him into one.
On Nov 22, the accountability court recorded the statements of Mohammad Rasheed, Mazhar Raza Khan Bangash, Shahbaz Haider Chaudhry and Tayyab in the Avenfiled flats reference. Subsequently, Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris cross-examined them.
Sharif and his daughter filed applications to amend the dates for their exemption from personal appearance.
On Nov 15, the court granted Maryam exemption for one month while Nawaz Sharif for a week. However, they appeared before the accountability court and requested it to grant exemption from Dec 5.
Maryam and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar have been named in a single corruption reference pertaining to the Sharif family’s London properties. Whereas, Sharif and his two sons – Hassan and Hussain – have been nominated in three references related to the London flats, Al-Aziza Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment.
NAB has already initiated the process of declaring Hussain and Hassan proclaimed offenders.
On Oct 9, the accountability court ordered NAB to initiate the process of declaring the former premier’s sons proclaimed offenders over their perpetual absence from the trial proceedings in three graft references.