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Hearing Of Al-Azizia, Flagship References Adjourned Till July 30

Islamabad (July 18, 2018): An Accountability Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of Al-Azizia/ Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship references against former premier Nawaz Sharif and members till July 30. 

The judge, who convicted the ex-PM, his daughter and son-in-law in the Avenfield reference, has already recused himself from hearing the references after the convicts requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to transfer both the pending cases against them to another court.

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When asked about the Sharif family’s application with regard to transfer of the cases, Khawaja Haris said it has returned to the accountability judge after going through different forums and that there is no stay order against hearing the cases.

NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar said the trial court lacked powers to transfer the cases and asked it to proceed with the matter since there was no legal bar on its hearing the cases.

A day earlier, judge of NAB Court-I decided to postpone the Al-Azizia corruption reference against Nawaz Sharif till the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling on an appeal filed by the Sharif family.

The lawyer of Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Haris was due to cross-question prosecution witness Wajid Zia, however, the defence counsel failed to appear in court in court.

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The bench turned down a request by the petitioners’ counsel to grant a stay order, restraining the trial court from proceeding with these cases until its decision on the petition.IHC Issues Notices To NAB On Sharifs Plea:

Earlier on Tuesday, the IHC issued notices to National Accountability Bureau with regard to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea to transfer the remaining corruption cases against him to another judge.

Two member bench comprising of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb heard the case.

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Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris, beginning his arguments, stated that the accountability judge has already given his verdict in one reference and thus cannot hear the remaining two references.  Justice Aurangzeb asked Haris if the judge has given an opinion on the other two references in the Avenfield judgment.

Haris remarked that it is not about the judge’s bias or personal grudge but about fairness of the trial.

The bench then issued notice to the NAB prosecutor with regard to Nawaz’s plea to transfer the remaining cases to another judge, directing him to submit a response at the next hearing, scheduled for the last week of July. Moreover, the court dismissed Nawaz’s plea seeking a stay on the corruption proceedings until the court decides on his petition to transfer the cases.

The bench then began hearing the Sharif family’s appeal against the Avenfield verdict.

On July 6, the three-time prime minister was sentenced to 10 years in prison by an accountability court in the Avenfield case while his daughter and son-in-law to seven years and one year’s jail term, respectively.Safdar was arrested on July 8 while the former premier and his daughter were arrested on the night of July 13 exactly a week after their conviction in the NAB case.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir ordered forfeiture of their properties in the Avenfield Apartments and Park Lane of London. He imposed a fine of £8 million (approximately Rs1,292m) on the former premier and £2 million (approximately Rs323m) on his daughter.

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Earlier on, the Accountability Court Judge Justice Mohammad Bashir, who sentenced Nawaz Sharif and others in the Avenfield properties reference, recused himself from hearing the other two corruption references-Flagship and Al-Azizia- against the former premier and his family.

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The accountability court judge noted that Nawaz’s counsel had also objected to him hearing the other two cases.

Related News:

IHC Issues Notices To NAB On Sharifs Plea