–Judge says top court will be apprised of progress in Flagship and Al-Azizia corruption references against former PM
–Court allows recording of Nawaz Sharif’s statement on Wednesday after lawyer seeks time for preparation
ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the Flagship and Al-Azizia corruption references against the Sharif family on Tuesday decided to write to the Supreme Court (SC) to seek another extension in the deadline to wrap up the trials.
In October, the top court had set November 17 as the deadline for the accountability court to conclude the references and warned that it will not grant any further extension if the references are not concluded by then. Further, it had indicated that the accountability court will be questioned if the trial is not wrapped up in the given time.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif appeared in court of Judge Arshad Malik on Tuesday.
During the hearing, Judge Malik and Nawaz’s lawyer Khawaja Haris discussed recording the accused’s statement under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
The judge wanted to start recording Nawaz’s statement on Tuesday, but his counsel insisted that it be done on Wednesday.
“The questions are complex but we don’t have any issue with that. However, in order to record statement, we need to review the entire record and should be given time till tomorrow,” Haris stressed
The judge conceded and said: “Record as much of Nawaz’s statement as you can tomorrow.”
Further, he added that the court needs to write a letter to the apex court and seek an extension.
“We will send Nawaz’s record along with the letter.”
The accountability court judge further said, “We will apprise the top court regarding the progress on the case along with the letter.”
Initially, the top court had directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court to conclude the corruption trial by Oct 7, however, the deadline approached and court proceedings in both references had not reached a conclusive position.
In 2017, the trial against the Sharif family commenced, following which, 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.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were 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.
On August 27, the SC had directed accountability court to conclude the trial within six weeks.
The Supreme Court had initially set a six-month deadline to conclude the four corruption references against the Sharif family.