SC scraps Nawaz Sharif’s plea to club graft references

  • Accountability court is hearing three references filed by NAB against Sharif family

ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice of Pakistan on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to club all corruption references against him.

On October 13, when Sharif had filed the plea for a single trial against him in the cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Registrar Office of the Supreme Court had raised objections overt it and asked the petitioner to take up the issue with a relevant forum.

Later, the former premier moved an in-chamber appeal against the objections.

Today, the chief justice heard the appeal in his chamber where Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Harris appeared on behalf of his client.

The petition has been filed under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, stating that Section 9 (a) (5) of the NAB Ordinance says that a single reference should be filed instead of multiples regarding possession of assets disproportionate to known sources of income.

The petitioner had also urged the court to halt proceedings of the trial court until a single reference if filed. It also pleaded that direction issued in Panamagate verdict to the NAB regarding filing the three reference should be declared null and void.

The petition added that holding of several trials based on one allegation is against the basic rights of the petitioners.

At first, the same petition was rejected by the accountability court, which is hearing the corruption references against Sharif, his children – Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz – and son-in-law, Captain (retd) Safdar, on October 19.

Aggrieved from the decision, Sharif moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) taking up the matter of single trial in the references. The high court approving the plea directed the trial court to re-consider the application and gave a detailed verdict.

On November 8, the accountability court again take up the matter but rejected the plea citing that all references have different allegations.

He again moved the IHC against the verdict of the trial court and the former premier has to face the rejection.

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 nearly a 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 the former premier, his three children and 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.