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NAB Court To Hear Al-Azizia Reference Against Sharifs Today

Islamabad (June 11, 2018): An accountability court will hear the Al-Azizia reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family today. 

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.

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Defence lawyer Khawaja Haris will continue cross-examining National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) star witness and Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia, today. 

Yesterday, Supreme Court granted accountability court a  one-month extension for the hearing of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references against Sharif family.

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During the proceeding, the petitioner said that concluding remarks are underway in Avenfield reference, Wajid Zia is being prosecuted in Al Azizia reference while the statement of investigation officer is yet to be recorded.

The verdict in the case cannot be declared yet, therefore, the extension is needed, he added.Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar directed NAB court judge Justice Mohammad Bashir to complete the hearing as early as possible as the accused and the people are in immense tension.

Meanwhile, the top judge had also allowed ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz to meet Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing a treatment for cancer in London.

It may be recalled that on June 08,  the Accountability Court on Friday files plea to extend the deadline for concluding corruption cases against former PM Nawaz Sharif and his family.AC Files Plea To Get Extension in NAB Ref. Trial DeadlineThe accountability court had submitted a request to the apex court seeking another extension in the deadline to conclude the high-profile cases.

The reference was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against former Prime Minister and his family after Supreme Court Orders. Whereas Judge Mohammad Bashir will conduct the proceedings of the Avenfield properties reference.

On June 4, Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir while hearing the Al-Azizia reference had remarked that he would write a letter to the Supreme Court requesting another extension to wrap up corruption references against the Sharif family.SC Extends Deadline to Conclude NAB Ref Against Sharif FamilyOn May 09, the Apex Court on Wednesday extended the deadline for concluding corruption cases against former PM Nawaz Sharif and his family until June 9.

The accountability court had submitted a request to the apex court seeking another extension in the deadline to conclude the high-profile cases.

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As the hearing went under way, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who is the monitoring judge of the corruption cases, asked why the trial has not concluded yet.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor replied that the trial has concluded in on reference.

Justice Ahsan then inquired if arguments in the Avenfield reference have concluded and whether its verdict can be given separately.

When the head of the two-member bench Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, asked how much time the defence counsel requires, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris said he needs three months.Haris contended that with Ramazan around the corner, a month’s extension would not be enough and the trial should not be rushed.

The court however extended the deadline for a month.

Justice Ahsan remarked that the rights of the accused will be safeguarded at all costs.

Corruption Cases:

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 on the orders of the supreme court.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 court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.

Later, on May 9, the trial court’s second plea for a deadline extension was approved by the Supreme Court which gave a month to both sides to finish the corruption cases.

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