Sharifs set to shun all proceedings of accountability court

  • Sharif's aide disclosed that no family member would appear before any accountability in future as well
  • Court adjourns hearing till September 26 by issuing second summons to Nawaz, his children and son-in-law
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – In what appears to be an unannounced boycott, the former ruling family has decided to give a hoot to all the proceedings of accountability court launched in the backdrop of Panama case verdict.

A visible indication of avoiding proceedings in future is the fact that the former premier Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hassan, Hussain, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain Safdar were summoned before the accountability court on Tuesday (today), however, glossing over the much-anticipated hearing all the family members gathered in London with Maryam and her family becoming the latest to head off, on Monday.

The wife of former premier Nawaz Sharif, Kulsoom is undergoing treatment regarding lymphoma which could be a pivotal reason for Sharifs to assemble in London but a PML-N leader close to the Sharif family clarified that Nawaz Sharif and his children will not appear before the accountability court and they are likely to skip all the proceedings of the accountability courts.

“The Sharifs are anticipating the outcome of these references, therefore they have no plans to appear before the accountability courts,” the PML-N leader said.

On the other hand, the accountability court before which embattled Sharif family had to appear on Tuesday took up a case regarding corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following the Supreme Court orders in Panamagate verdict.

Accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir heard the case without the appearance of any respondent where NAB authorities presented a report regarding implementation of summons issued for the members of the Sharif family.

NAB prosecutor informed the court that the summons were received by the security incharge of the family. The security officer informed that Hassan and Hussain had directed him not to receive the summons, the prosecutor added.

The judge remarked that summons had been issued for accused not for the security officer, adding that there should be a statement of the security officer if he had received the summons.

NAB authorities asked the court to issue arrest warrant for them saying, “they were taking the summons easy”. But, the court did not accept it.

Nawaz Sharif’s political adviser Asif Kirmai, who was present in the court during hearing, was asked by the judge to inform the Sharif family regarding the summons.

The court also ordered the investigation officer to trace the London addresses of Hassan and Hussain.

The judge adjourned the case till September 26 and issued summons again.

Counsel for the Sharifs Advocate Amjad Pervez did not confirm whether his clients had told him to appear before the accountability court or not.

“There has been no consultation on their or my appearance before the accountability court,” Advocate Pervez told Dawn News.

Local media claimed that the court may issue bailable or non-bailable arrest warrants against the members of the Sharif family due to their absence before the court.

The court has summoned the former premier and his sons on the basis of a reference regarding the Al Azizia Steel Mills. They have also been directed to appear on the same date in a reference regarding the London flats along with Nawaz’s daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar.

On Wednesday, the accountability court issued summons on the basis of the reference against Nawaz Sharif and his family members regarding Flagship firm, filed by the NAB.

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 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 their known sources of income.

The hearing of reference regarding assets of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is scheduled for Wednesday but it is still not clear whether he would show up or not.