NAB references: Nawaz Sharif’s indictment postponed

  • NAB court issued non-bailable arrest warrants issued for Hassan, Hussain and Captain Safdar
  • Hearing of three references has been adjourned till October 9

ISLAMABAD – The accountability court on Monday postponed the indictment of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif in corruption-related cases until next hearing, besides issuing non-bailable arrest warrants for his children and son-in-law.

He appeared before the accountability court for the second time in the three reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following the orders of the Supreme Court in Panamagate case.

The court had also issued bailable arrest warrants for Sharif’s children, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, and his son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar, directing them to appear before the court on October 2 (today). The court has issued bailable warrants for Maryam Nawaz.

The counsel for ex-PM’s children and son-in-law informed the court that they could not appear before the court as they are in London to attend their ailing mother.

On which, Judge Mohammad Bashir issued non-bailable arrest warrants for them and directed the authorities to produce them before the court on next hearing, scheduled for October 9 (Monday).

The counsel replied that former premier’s children and son-in-law will attend the next hearing.

The court has also not decided about the plea seeking exemption from physical appearance for Nawaz Sharif.

The anti-graft watchdog has filed the references with the court regarding the Al-azizia Steel Mills, Hill Milton Establishment and Avenfield apartments in London.

Stringent security measures have been taken along the route for the motorcade of the former premier, while a heavy contingent, comprising nearly 2000 troops, has been deputed at the federal judicial complex ahead of the hearing.

Later, Rangers took control of the complex and barred media persons and ministers from entering the court premises.

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A special traffic plan has been announced for the citizens by the city traffic police.

First Appearance

The former had made his maiden short appearance before the court on September 26 as he reached Pakistan after visiting his wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing a treatment of lymphoma in London.

During the last hearing, Judge Mohammad Bashir had rejected an application seeking exemption from the physical appearance for Nawaz Sharif.

The court remarked that decision regarding exemption will be made after the indictment.

The judge had also issued arrest warrants for former PM’s children and directing them to submit surety bond worth Rs100,000 each.

Nawaz’s Return

He returned to Pakistan on Monday after weeks long stay in London with his ailing wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who is suffering from cancer.

With his return, Sharif put to rest all rumours that he would shun all proceedings of the court. He also held media talk at Heathrow Airport.

Saying, “We did not commit corruption and receive kickbacks,” he raised concerns regarding the decision of  the Supreme Court in Panamagate case.

He also questioned the handling of the case saying, “The judges, who had disqualified him, heard the review petitions and now supervising the cases at the accountability court”.

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 the nearly 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 former premier, his three children and a 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.

The bureau had been 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.