Pakistan

LAHORE – Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday ordered the accountability court to announce decision on all three corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam within a month.

A two-judge bench headed by the chief justice heard the petition seeking further extension for the conclusion of trails against Nawaz and his family with regard to corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after apex court’s verdict in Panama Papers case.

During the hearing, the chief justice rejected Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris’ request for completing trial in six weeks, observing that final verdict against the former premier, his sons, daughter and son-in-law should be announced within a month.

However, the top judge remarked, Nawaz along with his daughter could go to see his ailing wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz in London if he wanted to during the trial period.

The top court had disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Panamagate verdict in July 28, 2017, and was set a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the court.

Earlier, the trial court had submitted the second plea for a deadline extension, which was approved by the Supreme Court ordering both sides to finish the corruption cases by June 9.

The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

Hussain and Hasan who are based in UK, absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.