Accountability court indicts Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar in London flats reference

  • The court rejected pleas of Sharif to suspend the proceedings
  • Hearing of the Avenfield properties adjourned till Oct 26
  • SECP officer Sidra Mansoor summoned as witness in London flats case
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The accountability court on Thursday indicted members of Sharif family in corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Judge Muhammad Bashir read the charges in the court against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law regarding London flats.

The former premier has been indicted in his absence as he was in London to visit his ailing wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. The court read the charges in presence of his legal representative Zafir Khan.

Zafir Khan, Maryam and Safdar, who attended the court hearing, rejected the accusation and vowed to defend the allegations.

Charge Sheet

According to charge sheet, the accused remained fail to tell the sources regarding the purchase of the Avenfield apartments and also filed fake documents regarding the flats in the Supreme Court.

It adds that the accused submitted fake 2006 trust deed of the London properties as in which the Calibri font was used at a time when it was not available publicly.

The accused made properties in Londn illegally, it states.

Pleas to Suspend Proceedings

Earlier, Nawaz Sharif’s daughter reached the court in form of motorcade from the Islamabad airport where she landed today through a special flight, while Captain (r) Safdar also reached the court separately.

During the hearing, Maryam Nawaz and his husband’s counsel, Advocate Amjad Pervaiz asked the court not to indict his clients as the NAB did not provide complete documents in the case. He added that Volume XI of the Panamagate JIT was also missing.

However, the NAB prosecution urged the court to indict them today.

A separate application was also filed by Khawaja Harris’s assistant on the behalf of former prime minister asking the NAB court to delay the indictment until the Supreme Court decides an application to club all NAB references.

Harris’ assistan Ayesha Hamid argued that all references were based on single JIT report and some witnesses in the cases are same; therefore, all references should be clubbed.

The court after hearing the arguments rejected the both pleas to suspend the proceedings of the reference.

The hearing of the Avenfield properties case was then adjourned until October 26.

Security Measures

Ahead of their appearance, strict security measures have been taken, while the security of the judicial complex is being handled by the Islamabad police and Frontier Constabulary (FC).

On Wednesday, security officials met with the NAB chairman and a judge to discuss security arrangements inside and outside the courts and the number of people who will be allowed inside the court to attend the hearing.

It was decided that 60 people will be allowed into the court room during the hearing including a team of 15 people comprising Sharifs’ legal team, guards and supporters.

Club All References

On Oct 13, Nawaz Sharif moved the Supreme Court to halt the proceeding of the accountability court in three corruption cases.

The former premier’s counsel filed an application citing  Section  9 (a) (5) of the National Accountability Ordinance stated that more than one reference regarding owing assets beyond known sources of income can not be filed.

It says the proceedings of the NAB court should be stopped against Sharif family until a single reference is filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)

The petitioner also asked that apex court’s direction to NAB regarding filing of three reference should be declared illegal.

The Sharif family’s petition states that conducting several trial on one allegation violates the basic rights of the petitioners.

Previous Proceedings

On October 9, Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar appeared before the accountability court for the first time in a reference filed by the NAB regarding Avenfield apartments in London, but the former premier could not appear in court.

During the hearing, the court granted bail to Maryam and Safdar against surety bonds and summoned them on October 13 for indictment.

The court had granted a single-day immunity to Nawaz Sharif for physical appearance but announced that it would indict Nawaz Sharif if he fails to appear on the next hearing day scheduled for October 13. .

The court also issued perpetual arrest warrants for Hassan and Hussain Nawaz and also declared both the brothers absconders in a reference related to the posh London apartments.

However, the hearing of Oct 13 was adjourned without proceedings after a brawl erupted between security official and lawyers after they were barred from entering the federal judicial complex.

NAB References

NAB has filed three references against Nawaz Sharif and his children.

NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and nearly a dozen companies and made Nawaz Sharif and his sons respondents.

The bureau’s Lahore branch prepared a reference regarding Avenfield apartments in London in which the former premier, his three children and son-in-law have been made respondents.

The references were filed in the backdrop of Supreme Court’s July 28 decision in the Panama Papers case in which Nawaz Sharif was also disqualified for concealing his employment with Capital FZE, a firm owned by his younger son Hassan.