ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing corruption cases against the Sharif family ordered that former premier Nawaz Sharif will be indicted on October 2.
Moreover, the court issued bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz’s daughter Maryam, sons Hussain and Hasan, and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar as they failed to appear in court today despite two earlier summons.
Earlier, as the hearing began, Judge Mohammad Bashir allowed the former prime minister to exit the court after marking his attendance so the proceedings could begin properly.
Nawaz and his family members had been summoned to the court with regards to three corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
A number of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers, lawyers and government officials were at the courts compound to greet the former premier.
Nawaz Sharif inside the Accountability Court-I: As the hearing began, the court directed Nawaz to record his attendance and leave so the commotion would settle down and proper proceedings could begin.
Nawaz’s political aide, Senator Asif Kirmani, informed the judge that he has fulfilled his duty of bringing Nawaz to the court, which the judge acknowledged.
Nawaz’s counsel, Khawaja Harris, represented Nawaz and his family, and was provided copies of the three references against his clients.
He also pleaded the court to exempt his client from personal appearance. However, the judge observed that the matter would be deliberated upon once Nawaz has been indicted.
Presenting his arguments, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbas informed the court that the security staff at Sharifs’ Jati Umra residence in Lahore refused to accept the summons for Hussain and Hasan Nawaz, stating that they reside outside the country.
The court then set October 2 as the date for indictment of the former premier in all three references.
Moreover, the court issued bailable warrants for the arrest of Nawaz’s children and son-in-law to ensure their appearance at the next hearing.
After his appearance in court, Nawaz returned to Punjab House where he will hold consultative meetings with political and legal aides, and then address a press conference at 3pm.
Nawaz returns: Nawaz returned to Pakistan on Monday after spending over three weeks in London.
A number of PML-N leaders descended on Punjab House — where Nawaz is residing — early morning to see-off the former premier.
Sources said a number of party leaders and government officials were accompanying Nawaz as well in his 37-vehicle convoy, however, only the vehicle carrying Nawaz and his legal counsel were allowed inside the court complex.
Security arrangements: The Islamabad administration made special traffic and security arrangements in and around Sector G-11, where the court is located.
Sources said around 1,500 police personnel were deployed to secure the route of the former premier whereas Rangers and Elite Force personnel will secure the courts complex.
Nawaz, his daughter Maryam, sons Hussain and Hasan, and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar had all been summoned by the accountability court.
However, only Nawaz appeared in person today as the rest are with his wife, Kulsoom, who is undergoing treatment for lymphoma in London.
The references: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed three references against Nawaz and his family, pertaining to which an accountability court summoned them on September 19.
However, the Sharifs failed to appear before the court as they were all in London. The court then set September 26 (today) as the next date of hearing, issuing another summons for the Sharif family.
NAB, in total, has filed three references against the Sharif family and one against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
The bureau was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.
The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Al Azizia Steel Mills, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies.
NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.
The bureau’s Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.
If convicted, the accused can face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.
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