ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Tuesday ordered the prosecution to record the statement of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif during the next hearing of Al-Azizia reference.
As the hearing resumed earlier in the day, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor Wasiq Malik told the court that the anti-graft watchdog has completed presenting its evidence against the accused in the reference.
Since October last year, when Nawaz was indicted in Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference, 22 witnesses have been presented before the court.
The prosecutor further informed that the copies of the Supreme Court’s verdicts dated April 20 and July 28 have also been submitted during the hearing.
Nawaz’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, objected to the remark of the prosecutor, saying top court’s April 20 verdict was not related to Al-Azizia reference. An older verdict was no longer relevant after another verdict was given by the SC, he contended.
It is worth noting that the NAB court has until November 17 to complete the hearings of two remaining corruption references– Al-Azizia and Flagship Investments –against the Sharif family. The top court had given a final extension to the court earlier this month, after its deadline to conclude the trials against the Sharifs had ended on October 7.
NAB had filed three references against members of the Sharif family in line with the Supreme Court’s order of July 28 last year.
In September 2017, the trial against the Sharif family commenced. On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
An accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Additionally, Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.
However, the jail sentences were later suspended by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).