ISLAMABAD – Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea to club the references filed by the National Accountability Bureau was turned down by the Islamabad High Court.
Announcing the verdict reserved a day earlier, the august court remarked that the counsel had started concluding arguments in the cases, making the plea infructuous.
Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani and Justice Aamir Farooq announced the verdict, paving the way for timely completion of the cases, a final deadline for which is set for July 9.
The supreme leader of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz had requested to halt the arguments in the references being heard by the accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir.
He had requested that the arguments in all the three references – pertaining to Avenfiled flats, Hill Metal establishment and offshore firms – should be made simultaneously.
During Thursday’s proceedings, Azam Nazir Tarrar and Amjad Pervez appeared on behalf of Sharif family and contended that this was the first case in history where the petitioner has not used delaying tactics.
He said recording separate testimony of witnesses common to the three cases is depriving his client of his fundamental rights.
During the proceedings, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar argued that defence lawyer Khawaja Haris had already started presenting arguments in one reference, therefore, the petition in the high court had become invalid.
‘All of the three references were independent and the complete arguments for one reference had already been presented before the accountability court,’ he argued.
Earlier on June 5, the accountability court had rejected Nawaz’s petition for final arguments in all the three references against the Sharif family to be heard together.
Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir had remarked that the petitioner may challenge the verdict in the high court, adding that till that time the cross-examination of NAB’s star witness Wajid Zia would continue.
Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are named in the Avenfield reference only.
Hussian and Hassan Nawaz are UK-based and have been absconding since the proceedings began last year, however, the former premier has been showing up regularly before the court of judge Muhammad Bashir.