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Former PM Nawaz, Maryam, Safdar Reappear Before AC

Islamabad (January 09, 2018): Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar reappeared before accountability court in National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) references today (Tuesday).

Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir is conducting the trial.

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To-date, 18 hearings of the Avenfield case, 19 of the Flagship case and 22 of the Al Azizia case have been held.

This is Nawaz’s 12th, Maryam’s 14th and will be Safdar’s 16th appearance in the accountability court.

At the last hearing on January 2, three witnesses recorded their statements, while six more were summoned for today.

Nawaz also spoke to the media after the last hearing and expressed disappointment at the ‘futile attempts’ to drag him in court cases.Nawaz Sharif is nominated suspect in references regarding Avenfield properties, Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment, while Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar are nominated in reference regarding Avenfield properties alone.

In the previous hearing, prosecution witness Tasleem Khan recorded his statement, saying he went to NAB office on Commissioner Inland Revenue Fizza Batool’s directives and submitted wealth tax record of Nawaz Sharif and his sons while Jahangir Ahmed present income tax record.Arguing on Tasleem Khan’s statement, Khawaja Haris asked whether the record was verified in front of him over which Khan responded, “No”, adding that Fizza Batool is till Commission Inland Revenue.

The court adjourned the case till January 9 after all three witnesses recorded their statements.

SC disqualified Sharif from office in July over unreported sources of annual income of about $10,000, a salary the former premier denies ever receiving. The high court also ordered the NAB to investigate and conduct a trial into the Sharif family’s wider finances, including the London properties.Sharif maintains control of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which elected close ally Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister after Sharif was disqualified.

The references
The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and another against the then-Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.

The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties, and over dozen offshore companies allegedly owned by the family.Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar’s bail in the Avenfield properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.

Safdar was also directed to take the court’s permission before leaving the country from now on. The judge also provided a copy of the reference — spread over 53 volumes — to Maryam and Safdar.

NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.Its Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.

If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.

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