Accountability court gets second extension in Sharifs’ trial

  • Supreme Court orders trial court to conclude cases untill June 9
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court granted on Wednesday around one-month extension to the accountability court for wrapping up the corruption cases against members of Sharif family.

The apex court, while hearing a plea filed by accountability court judge, ordered the trial court to complete the proceedings until June 9.

Judge Mohammad Bashir in his plea sought three months to conclude the cases but the court approved the one-month extension. The previous deadline is going to expire on May 12.

The trial court is hearing three corruption references pertaining to Avenfield properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his children –Maryam, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz, and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar.

Counsel for Nawaz, Khawaja Haris, argued that the case could not be concluded in the given timeline and pleaded the court to extend the deadline by three months.

To which, Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that extension will be approved again if it will be required. Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that rights of the suspects will be protected.

NAB prosecutor informed the court that trial in Avenfield case has been completed and accused were yet to be testified.

Later, the apex court asked the trial court to conclude the case till June 9.

Judge Mohammad Bashir, while hearing a case pertaining to London properties said on Tuesday that he had formally asked the apex court to extend the deadline in the corruption cases as proceeding were yet to complete. He also remarked that future course of action in the cases will be planned following the time frame.

Earlier in March, the top court had granted two months extension to the trial court for wrapping up the cases filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of the Panamagate verdict.

Amjad Pervez, a counsel for the Sharif family, already expressed concerns regarding the pace of the trial in the cases. He said that not a single case had ever been tried in such a short deadline in the past.

All prosecution witnesses in the London flats case have been examined, while Panamagate JIT head Wajid Zia and investigation officer are yet to be testified in remaining two references.

The accountability court has summoned Wajid Zia for recording his testimony in Al-Azizia on May 10. The NAB’s top prosecution Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi also urged the court to summon former PM and other suspects for recording their statements once the witnesses are testified.

The judge replied that a decision in this regard following the decision of the apex court on extension plea.