ISLAMABAD – The Accountability court on Tuesday announced that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be indicted on October 2, and issued bailable arrest warrants for his children in the three references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against them.
Nawaz Sharif made a short appearance before the court and reportedly informed the court that his wife was ill and he wanted to attend to her; therefore, the court permitted him to leave.
Judge Mohammad Bashir resumed the hearing, while Khawaja Harris represented the former premier in court and lawyer Amjad Pervez appeared on the behalf of his children and son-in-law.
Counsel for Nawaz submitted an application to the court seeking exemption from personal appearance for his client, but the NAB prosecutor opposed it.
The court remarked that the decision regarding the exemption would be made after the indictment of the former Prime Minister.
The judge also directed the NAB authorities to provide copies of reference to the lawyers of the accused family.
The court had alo summoned his children, Maryam, Hussain and Hassan Nawaz, and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar, but they did not appear before the court as they are in London.
The NAB counsel informed the court during the hearing that summons were earlier sent to the ex-PM’s children at their Lahore address where security incharge denied receiving them, adding that the authorities later sent the notices to them in London.
Following the arguments, the court issued bailable arrest warrants against Maryam, Captain (retd) Safdar, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz and directed the authorities concerned to present them before the court on October 2.
The court also directed the accused to submit surety bonds of Rs1,000,000 each against the bail to the court.
Following the appearance of the former premier, a heavy contingent comprising over 1,500 troops of police, Rangers and special branch, had been deployed around the judicial complex.
Nawaz Sharif left for the court from the Punjab House in Islamabad in form of a motorcade, consisting of over 30 vehicles, amid tight security.
PML-N bigwigs, including Raja Zafarul Haq, Asif Kirmani, Talal Chaudhy, Pervaiz Rashid, Saifur Rehman and others have reached the Punjab House to see off their leader.
The former PM will address an important press conference at 3pm at the Punjab House. Earlier, he was scheduled to hold a media talk soon after the hearing.
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 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.
After the references, an accountability court summoned them on September 19. However, Sharifs failed to appear before the court.
In response, NAB moved the court to issue arrest warrants for the former Prime Minister, but the court rejected NAB’s request and again issued summons for Sharifs to appear on 26 September. The court notices had also been pasted outside both his residences in Lahore.
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.