ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday adjourned the hearing into corruption references against the Sharif family on the request of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
During the hearing, Nawaz Sharif maintained that the accountability court’s proceedings should be suspended until the Islamabad High Court (IHC)’s decision regarding the clubbing of references is announced.
On November 23, the high court had reserved its judgement on a petition by the ousted premier to club the references against him.
The latest plea filed by Nawaz Sharif maintained that the IHC did not announce a short order in a bid to avoid confusion and so the case be adjourned.
National Accountability Bureau’s prosecutor, Sardar Muzzafar, objected to Nawaz’s request stating that witnesses had appeared on behalf of the Bureau for the hearing and should be allowed to record their statement. The prosecutor pointed out that one of the witnesses had only recorded half of his testimony in the previous hearing and should be allowed to complete it.
However, the graft court rejected the prosecutor’s request and didn’t proceed with the proceedings, adjourning the hearing until December 4.
Moreover, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris also could not make it to the court proceedings.
Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz reached Islamabad early Tuesday morning from Lahore in order to appear before the graft court for the Al Azizia Steel Mills case-related hearings amid tight security. Captain (r) Safdar was also present for the hearing.
Speaking in the courtroom to journalists, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief refused to comment on the Monday’s decision of the IHC regarding the Islamabad protest.
The IHC had lashed out at the government over its handling of the protest and the army for its “undue” role in the agreement between the protesters and the government.
Nawaz said there is a time for everything, and assured he will speak his mind on the subject in a couple of days.
On Monday, due to the absence of lawyers and witnesses, the accountability court hearing three corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family had adjourned the hearing of the Al Azizia Steel Mills case until Tuesday.
Judge Muhammad Bashir had adjourned the hearing before the proceedings started.
Sharif’s counsel and the prosecution’s witnesses were unable to attend the hearing due to roadblocks in the federal capital due to a sit-in by a religious party.
Captain (r) Safdar had arrived at the judicial complex for the hearing on Monday and while speaking to media personnel had stated that due to the ongoing situation in Lahore and Islamabad, he could not contact anyone else from the Sharif family.
At the earlier hearing, four prosecution witnesses had recorded their statements and were cross-examined.
Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case.
Nawaz and his two sons, Hussain and Hasan, are nominated in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar are only accused in one.