The accountability court hearing corruption cases against Nawaz Sharif and his family members has rejected an application filed by the ousted prime minister for clubbing together the three references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
After the announcement of the judgement, Sharif was called to the rostrum and the judge read out the charges against him.
The former prime minister was indicted separately in each of the three references — he pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges.
While at the rostrum, Sharif expressed his concern that since the Supreme Court had given a six-month deadline for the references to be wrapped up, deciding four references in this period would mean each case gets just 1.5 months.
However, the judge observed that the cases could conclude within the timeframe if heard simultaneously.
After the indictment, the court revived summonses for the prosecution witnesses — Sidra Mansoor of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Jahangir Ahmed of Federal Board of Revenue — for their presence in the next hearing.
The Sharif family members left the court after the hearing was adjourned until November 15.
The court had reserved its ruling on Sharif’s application on Tuesday after hearing arguments from both the defence counsel and the NAB prosecution.
Nawaz Sharif along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohamed Safdar appeared before the accountability court in Islamabad yesterday as hearing resumed into the references filed under the directives of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case verdict.
Speaking to reporters as he left the court, Nawaz Sharif said he already knew the Supreme Court judgement on the review petitions filed against the Panama Papers case verdict would never come in his favour.
“These judges are full of grudge... their grudge and anger has come out in words,” he said, commenting on the strong words used in the detailed order.
“This grudge, anger and words will become a dark chapter of history.”
Sharif said the judiciary had penned several dark chapters in Pakistan’s history during dictatorial rules and the judgement on the review petition would be “written in dark letters” as well.
The court yesterday also decided on an application filed by Maryam Nawaz and her husband Safdar for deletion of a charge related to the use of Calibri font.
The accountability court had on Oct 19 indicted Maryam and Safdar in the Avenfield reference related to London properties. Besides other charges, the court also charged Maryam with signing a document in Calibri font in February 2006 when that font did not exist.
Announcing its judgement, the court decided to delete Section 3(a) of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 dealing with forgery from the charges against the couple.
The charge could be reinstated in case the prosecution comes up with solid evidence against the accused related to forgery.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who was scheduled to appear before the court yesterday in connection with the reference trial, filed an application in the court to nominate a pleader.
The application filed by Dar’s junior counsel stated that he is currently in London due to ill health and would prefer to be represented by a pleader in the court on his behalf.
Interestingly, Dar nominated Zafir Khan as his pleader, the same person who pleaded on behalf of Nawaz Sharif while he was in London attending to his wife.
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