ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday reserved its verdict on a petition by former premier Nawaz Sharif to club together the decision on three NAB references against him.
Nawaz and his family members are facing three corruption references in the accountability court — Avenfield Properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments — in which they are accused of money laundering, tax evasion and hiding offshore assets.
The former prime minister had petitioned before the IHC that the accountability court announce one verdict in three corruption references as decided by it earlier on November 8, 2017.
A bench comprising of Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Moshin Akhtar Kayani heard the case.
Lawyers Azam Nazir Tarrar and Amjad Pervez appeared on behalf of Sharif family. Nazir contended that this is the first case in history where the petitioner has not used delaying tactics. He said that recording separate testimony of witnesses common to the three cases is depriving his client of his fundamental rights.
During the proceedings, NAB Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar argued that defence lawyer Khawaja Haris had already started presenting arguments in one reference, therefore, the petition in the high court has become invalid.
He further said that all of the three references were independent, adding that the complete arguments for one reference had already been presented before the accountability court.
Earlier on June 5, an accountability court had dismissed Nawaz’s petition for final arguments in all the three references against the Sharif family to be heard together.
Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir had remarked that the petitioner may challenge the verdict in high court, adding that till that time, the cross-examination of NAB’s star witness Wajid Zia would continue.
The National Accountability Bureau has in total filed three references against the Sharif family in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd and Avenfield properties of London.
Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court. Their trial in the high-profile corruption case has been separated from other family members owing to their continued absence.