Court grants Sharif, Maryam exemption from appearance

Court grants Sharif, Maryam exemption from appearance

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday challenged the accountability court's Nov 08 verdict, rejecting his request to conduct a single trial on all three references against him, in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Maryam sought exemption for a month during which her representative will attend all hearings.

Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir is expected to rule on both these applications within a day.

The court has summoned four another witnesses to record their statement.

As the hearing begun, prosecution witnesses Sidra Mansoor of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan recorded her statements in connection with Avenfield Properties Reference (London Properties).

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed three corruption cases - Avenfield Properties, Alazizia Steel Mill, Flagship Investment reference - against Sharif family on the directives of Supreme Court of Pakistan in Panama case ruling.

At the hearing of the references on Oct 9, Judge Muhammad Bashir had accepted NAB's plea to declare Hussain and Hassan proclaimed offenders and separated their trial proceedings in the three references filed against them.

Earlier, the court had issued perpetual warrants for Hussain and Hassan Nawaz's arrest and separated their trial from other members of the family.

Mansur stated that the audit report of Hudaibiya Mills from 2000-2005 has been submitted to the accountability court which has forwarded it to NAB.

Mansoor recorded her statement in the Avenfield flats case, telling the court that she had appeared before the investigation officer in Lahore on August 18, and provided NAB documents containing the Sharif family's financial records, the Dawn reported. The court after recording the statement of NAB investigators adjourned the hearing for Wednesday (today).

She also posted the screen grabs of live TV transmission showing the remarks of Chief Justice of Pakistan that the top court was not in a hurry to announce a judgment in disqualification cases against Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen.

The former premier's family has time and again rejected the allegations and told the court "all corruption charges are based on lies".

Last week, the ousted prime minister was indicted separately in each of the three references.

NAB's Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the almost dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.

If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.