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Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar have arrived at an accountability court in Islamabad for a hearing in connection with the corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
In a break from tradition, all three members of the Sharif family arrived at the court in the same car. The motorcade carrying the trio comprised 30 vehicles, DawnNews reported.
The hearing is expected to commence shortly.
Sharif had arrived in the country from London amid VIP protocol to appear before the accountability court last Friday.
However, the hearing against Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law was adjourned after an order passed the previous day by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) regarding the clubbing of three references against the Sharif family could not be procured by the court in time.
Court to hear arguments about clubbing references
At the outset of the proceedings on Friday, Judge Mohammad Bashir said he had read in a newspaper that the IHC had ordered clubbing of three corruption references together.
At this, NAB deputy prosecutor general Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said the IHC had not passed such an order, but remanded the matter to the accountability court again.
After receiving the IHC short order issued on Nawaz Sharif’s petitions seeking a joint trial of all the three references, the judge then read out the order sheet, according to which the accountability court was asked to examine the matter in the light of Section 17-D.
The section reads: “A person accused of more offences than one of the same kind…may be charged with and tried at one trial for any number of such offences.”
Khawaja Haris, the counsel for Sharif, argued that in case the references were clubbed together, the court would need to indict Sharif, Maryam and Safdar again.
In today’s hearing, the counsel and the prosecutor will argue on the clubbing of references, joint trial and re-indictment.
A five-member bench of the Supreme Court on July 28 had directed NAB to file references against Nawaz and his children in six weeks in the accountability court and directed the trial court to decide the references within six months.
The Supreme Court also assigned Justice Ijazul Ahsan a supervisory role to monitor the progress of the accountability court proceedings.
The former premier and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all three NAB references, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference.