NAB References: Nawaz Sharif appears before AC

NAB References: Nawaz Sharif appears before AC

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has on Wednesday appeared before the accountability court (AC) in mega corruption references filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in line with the Supreme Court directive in the Panamagate case.

The accountability court (AC) judge Muhammad Bashir resumed hearing of the three corruption references against the Sharif family.

Nawaz Sharif has appeared before the court for sixth time.

The court will also announce verdict regarding issuance of permanent warrants of the sons of the former prime minister Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.

Stringent security arrangements have been made on the occasion, while several party leaders including Talal Chaudhry, Daniyal Aziz and Asif Kirmani and hundreds of workers were also present outside the court.

Earlier, the accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir granted a week’s exemption to Nawaz Sharif from personal appearance, which would lapse on November 27. The court granted a month’s exemption to Maryam from personal appearance.

Both of them had sought exemption on the account of the health of Kulsoom Nawaz, who was undergoing treatment of lymphoma at a medical facility in London. The court declared sons of ousted premier Hussain and Hasan Nawaz “proclaimed offenders” due to their continuous absence.

The court initiated the formal trial of all the three accused by recording the statements of first two prosecution witnesses produced by the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor.

Previously, the accountability court (AC) had again indicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif after rejecting his petition seeking to club three corruption references into one.

The judge called Nawaz Sharif to the rostrum after which his indictment was read out. The former PM denied all the charges and said that he is being targeted political revenge.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed three cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his family members and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the Islamabad Accountability Court following the verdict.

The anti-graft body NAB had frozen the bank accounts and seized properties of Sharif and his family members to put pressure on them to appear before the court.

The Sharifs have denied any wrongdoing and have labelled the corruption proceedings against them as politically motivated. Two of Nawaz’s sons are also due to appear before the NAB court, along with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

Nawaz was disqualified by the Supreme Court in July for not declaring a source of income that he disputes receiving. Pakistan’s top court also ordered a wide-ranging NAB investigation and trial into Sharif family members.

The Supreme Court specified that the trial be concluded within six months by NAB, which has in the past been derided as toothless because rich and powerful politicians were seldom convicted.