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SC Grants Final Extension To Wrap Up NAB References

Islamabad (October 12, 2018): The Supreme Court on Friday granted the final extension to the accountability court hearing two corruption references against the Sharif family. 

“You can work over the weekends if you want. If the corruption trial is not concluded till November 17, we will schedule hearings on Sundays as well,” Justice Nisar said.

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A three-member bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing the petition today. As the hearing went underway, Nawaz Sharif’s legal counsel Khawaja Haris appeared before the apex court and requested an 6-week extension to conclude the Flagship Investment and Al-Azizia corruption references.

The top court, however, rejected the plea, stating that it could not grant more than four weeks to conclude the cases.Haris then requested the court to accept his plea. ‘Please accept my request for once,” he said. To this the chief justice responded by saying that Haris’ requests had always been accepted, however, an impression contradicting the reality had been given.

Further, the chief justice remarked that the accountability court judge will be questioned if the trial is not wrapped up during the given time.

Earlier on October 09, the accountability court hearing Al-Azizia Steel Mills case and Flagship Investment reference sought another extension to conclude the trial.

The Supreme Court’s deadline to conclude a corruption trial against the Sharif family ended on October 7.

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Judge Arshad Malik of Accountability Court II wrote a letter to the apex court to request an extension, sources said. He also apprised the Supreme Court of the progress in the two corruption references against the Sharif family.

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Earlier on August 27, the Supreme Court had directed the accountability court to decide the Al Azizia and Flagship corruption references within six weeks.

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So far, five extensions to wrap up the corruption references initiated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have been granted by the apex court.

The Supreme Court had initially set a six-month deadline to conclude the four corruption references against the Sharif family.

Accountability Court II Judge Arshad Malik is hearing both, Al Azizia reference and the Flagship Investment case.In the Al Azizia reference, statements of all witnesses have been recorded, while the cross-examination of the investigation officer is yet to conclude.

The Flagship Investment reference is also underway. Both, Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia and the investigation officer, are yet to appear before the court to record their statements in the case.

Earlier on July 6, accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir had announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handing the ousted prime minister 10 years as jail time and seven years to his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

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The trial against the Sharif family commenced on September 14, 2017.

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.

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AC Seeks Extension To Wrap-Up References Against Sharifs