Avenfield reference conviction: IHC slaps fine on NAB for delay on Sharifs petition

  • I will recuse myself from the case if not given more time: Muzaffar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD – The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was slapped a fine worth Rs 10,000 by the Islamabad High court for resorting to delaying tactics on a petition filed by the Sharif family.

The former ruling family had petitioned the IHC against their conviction in the Avenfield reference by the accountability court, however, a two-member bench of the court told the accountability watchdog that delaying tactics were being used.

Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb resumed the hearing of the case on Thursday and asked NAB’s Deputy Prosecutor, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi to continue the arguments.

However, the NAB deputy prosecutor said that he had been directed to ask for an adjournment of two days.

Upon this, Justice Minallah questioned Abbasi whether the NAB chairman had directed him so, to which the deputy prosecutor general responded that the prosecutor general had asked him.

When the NAB official was arguing, Nawaz’s counsel, Khawaja Harris, protested and contended that the pleas were filed a month ago.

Moreover, Justice Minallah remarked that there needed to be a solid reason for adjournment.

Following this, the NAB deputy prosecutor also suggested recusing himself from the case to which Justice Aurangzeb observed that there were no objections when the petitions for transfer of the case were heard.

“The judgment was based on merit,” the judge asserted.

Justice Minallah, for one more time, questioned if anyone had any objections to the bench and clarified that all respondents were equal before the bench.

Meanwhile, Nawaz’s counsel also argued that the NAB chairman asking for adjournment does not reflect transparency in the case.

“For the first time, I am seeing a top official request for an adjournment of a case,” Harris asserted.

However, Abbasi visibly threatened that he would recuse himself from the case if not given more time.

The court told the NAB officer that he should wind up the arguments on Monday.