ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Wednesday formally initiated trial proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law MNA Capt (r) Safdar in three graft references filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
As the court proceedings went underway on Wednesday, prosecution witness, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) joint registrar, Sidra Mansoor recorded her statement in the Avenfield flats reference. She informed the judge that she had appeared before the NAB Lahore team on August 18 and also provided the required documents. She further claimed that she had provided the bureau with the 2000-2005 audit report of Hudabiya Paper Mills.
Raising objections, the counsels of Nawaz and his children, Khawaja Harris and Amjad Pervez stated that the witness had provided photocopies with missing official seals and signatures of companies.
Later, Nawaz and Maryam pleaded with the court seeking an exemption from the court appearances owing to the ongoing medical treatment of Kulsoom Nawaz in London.
They further claimed that Nawaz’s pleader, Zafir Khan would ensure appearances on behalf of former premier during his absence.
The Sharifs then exited the court while the hearing is continuing.
Earlier, Nawaz Sharif accompanied by Maryam Nawaz and her husband MNA Capt (r) Safdar reached the accountability court amid tight security.
A number of workers and leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were present inside and outside the court premises to welcome the party president.
Nawaz, along with Maryam and Safdar had earlier reached Islamabad from Lahore.
Nawaz and his two sons, Hussain and Hasan, are nominated in all three references while Maryam and Safdar are facing charges in one reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case.
During Wednesday’s hearing, accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir has summoned two NAB witnesses: Sidra Mansoor of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Jahangir Ahmed of Inland Revenue Department.
Ahmed is expected to present tax records of Sharifs to the court while Mansoor will be detailing the court about the companies owned by the Sharifs.
During Wednesday’s hearing Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain are also likely to be declared proclaimed offenders. The two brothers, who are based outside the country failed to appear for any of the graft hearings.
At the hearing of the references on Oct 9, Judge Muhammad Bashir had accepted NAB’s plea to declare Hussain and Hassan proclaimed offenders and separated their trial proceedings in the three references filed against them.
As the 30-day deadline given to Hussain and Hassan Nawaz to appear before the accountability court hearing corruption cases against them expired on Nov 10, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during Tuesday’s hearing had requested the accountability court to seize the properties of the scions of the Sharif family.
Meanwhile, in response to a plea filed by Nawaz in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday, challenging the accountability court’s dismissal of his application to club three corruption references against him and his family into one, notices had been sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Also on Tuesday, the bench had rejected a miscellaneous application of the former prime minister seeking to restrain the trial court from proceeding in the NAB references until his application is decided.