ISLAMABAD – The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted four interim references against members of Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar before the accountability court on Friday.
Boxes full of documents from the NAB regional offices were brought into the Islamabad Accountability Court in Sector F-11 and references were submitted to the registrar of Judge Mohammad Bashir as the Supreme Court’s deadline expired today.
NAB Spokesperson Nawazish Ali expressed that all the references had been accepted for trial and nothing has been sent back.
He urged the media to restrain from speculation on the issue while responding to reports that one of the references was incomplete and that the registrar has asked NAB to attach the missing documents before the references can be sent for trial, reported Geo News.
Three of the references are against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar and sons Hussain and Hasan while another one is against their close confidante and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
If convicted, the accused can face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.
The references were filed in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 decision in the Panama Papers case. The bureau was given six weeks, from the date of the court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the court was granted six months to complete the proceedings.
NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family. The bureau’s Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.
According to sources, NAB has decided not to file the Hudaibia Paper Mills case as the apex court’s order regarding it was ‘unclear’.
Meanwhile, NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry rejected recommendations by the bureau’s regional chiefs in Rawalpindi and Lahore to freeze assets of Sharif family members and Dar, sources told Geo News.
Chaudhry also rejected the recommendation to add the names of Sharif, Hasan, Hussain, and Dar on the Exit Control List (ECL).
A reference against Nawaz, Maryam, Hussain, Hasan and Capt (retd) Safdar, relating to the Avenfield properties (flats 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, United Kingdom), has been directed to be filed by NAB.
“In preparing and filing this Reference, the NAB shall also consider the material already collected during the course of investigations conducted earlier, as indicated in the detailed judgments,” the court ruled.
The court also ordered the filing of a reference against respondents Nawaz, Hussain, and Hasan regarding Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Establishment.
A reference was ordered against Dar possessing assets and funds beyond his known sources of income, “as discussed in paragraph 9 of the judgment”.
The court also ordered NAB to include in its proceedings all other persons including Sheikh Saeed, [nephew of Dar’s wife] Musa Ghani, [son of a retired officer from London Stock Exchange] Kashif Masood Qazi, [Nawaz’s friend] Javaid Kiyani and [National Bank of Pakistan President] Saeed Ahmed, who have any direct or indirect nexus or connection with the actions of Nawaz, Hussain, Hasan, Maryam and Dar, leading to acquisition of assets and funds beyond their known sources of income.
A reference was also ordered against Nawaz, Hussain, and Hasan regarding the companies mentioned in paragraph nine of the judgment.
The bench also gave NAB the option to file supplementary reference(s) “if and when any other asset, which is not prima facie reasonably accounted for, is discovered”.