Judge reserves verdict in Avenfield reference against Sharifs for Friday

  • Nawaz Sharif, Maryam, Captain (r) Safdar, Hassan, Hussain accused in the reference
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The accountability court in Islamabad is set to announce its much-awaited verdict in the Avenfield reference on July 6 (Friday).

Judge Muhammad Bashir will announce the verdict which was reserved today in a reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau against the former ruling family – the Sharif family.

The Avenfield reference pertains to the upscale London flats of the Sharif family and it took the accountability court ten months to complete its proceedings, with allegations of unnecessary trial speedup and unjust conduct.

As many as three references were filed against the members of Sharif family, in line with the directives of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.

Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references – Hill Metal establishment, London flats and offshore firms –  whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are named in the Avenfield reference only.

Nawaz’s counsel Khawja Harris had completed his concluding arguments in the London flats case, while counsel for Maryam and Safdar ended the final arguments in today’s hearing.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which had filed all the three reference against Sharifs, decided to not file the response to the final arguments submitted by the counsels for the suspects.

The court, therefore, reserved the decision today and it would be announced coming Friday, weeks before the general elections are set to be held in Pakistan.

The accused in the case did not appear before the court in recent hearings as they are in London to visit the ailing Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who has been placed on a ventilator in after her health deteriorated.

On Monday, the court granted a two-day exemption to former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

The co-accused in the Avenfield reference had applied for a week’s exemption from physical appearance in the accountability court, however, the judge Muhammad Bashir did not entertain them fully.

During the course of hearing, Maryam Nawaz’ lawyer, Amjad Pervaiz resumed his final arguments and questioned the professionalism of forensic expert, Robert Radley.

Sharifs secure exemption for two more days in Avenfield reference

He contended that during the court proceedings, only specialist’s opinion (testimony) is acceptable, however, Radley did not inform the court about his qualification as he has been working in this field since 1976.

Robert Radley did not submit his Curriculum Vitae (CV) in the court before recording his statement, he argued before the judge.

Maryam’s lawyer explained that Radley should have presented the CV in the record as it was already provided in the ‘Volume4’.

‘Identification of font’ is an expertise but Redley did not mention this skill in his CV,’ lawyer Amjad Pervez claimed.