ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Accountability court on Wednesday has rejected Nawaz Sahrif’s plea seeking merger of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Avenfield properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments references against him, indicting the ex-prime minister in all three corruption reference separately.
During the hearing headed by Justice Mohammad Bashir, the reserved verdict was announced, stating that all three references cannot be separated due to their different nature and money trails. The number of witnesses in the references also varies, it further stated.
The former PM was called on rostrum after which his indictment was read out in all three corruption references separately. However, Nawaz denied all the charges pleading not guilty and saying that the proceeding was initiated on political basis. Will defend myself during trial, he continued.
Nawaz Sharif told the court that the order to complete trial in six months is being affected due to the appointment of monitoring judge in the references over which the judge said the cases can be concluded on time if we start them together. He also requested to allow him to hire representative which was accepted by the court. Zaafar Khan will be his permanent representative.
Subsequently, the court has summoned witnesses and adjourned the hearing till November 15.
Talking to media after the hearing, Nawaz Sharif said that he already knew that the decision of Supreme Court (SC) on his review petitions will not be in his favor. This verdict will become a ‘black chapter’ in the history, he added.
He said that the words of the judges are reflecting grudge and anger they are keeping inside them for him.
In yesterday’s hearing, Sharif family counsel Khawaja Harris argued that all three cases are of same nature and their witnesses are also same, therefore, it was requested to club them. The plea was abruptly opposed by NAB prosecutor after which the hearing was adjourned and former PM was allowed to leave the court.
Earlier, Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) issued verdict over review petitions filed by disqualified premier Nawaz Sharif stating that no loopholes were pointed out in the disqualification order by the claimants. The court maintained that six and a half years worth of salary is to be considered an asset of Nawaz Sharif and that forged affidavit was attached along nomination papers of Nawaz Sharif.
The order compiled by Justice Ijaz Afzal reads that the facts regarding disqualification of Nawaz Sharif were uncontroversial. It is wrong to claim that then premier was ‘shocked’ by the order, the court has ruled
SC disqualified Sharif from office in July over unreported sources of annual income of about $10,000, a salary the former premier denies ever receiving. The high court also ordered the NAB to investigate and conduct a trial into the Sharif family’s wider finances, including the London properties.
Sharif maintains control of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which elected close ally Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister after Sharif was disqualified.