Panama Papers: Anti-graft court adjourns hearing against Nawaz Sharif and family till December 4

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Islamabad | Published: November 28, 2017 11:52:00 AM

A Pakistani anti-corruption court today adjourned the hearing of cases against the Sharif family till December 4 after ousted premier Nawaz Sharif requested it to suspend proceedings until the high court here announces its verdict in a petition on clubbing the three cases into one.

nawaz sharif, panama papers, panama papers case, pakistan court, sharif, sharif familyOn November 8, the accountability court had rejected a plea by Sharif to club all three cases together. (Reuters)

A Pakistani anti-corruption court today adjourned the hearing of cases against the Sharif family till December 4 after ousted premier Nawaz Sharif requested it to suspend proceedings until the high court here announces its verdict in a petition on clubbing the three cases into one. The cases were registered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8 against 67-year-old Sharif and his family in the Accountability Court Islamabad, following a verdict by Supreme Court. Sharif along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz appeared in the court where Judge Mohammad Bashir conducted the hearing. His son-in-law Capt (retd.) Muhammad Safdar was also present. Maryam and Safdar are co-accused with Sharif and his sons in one of the three cases. The defence lawyer requested the judge to suspend proceedings until the Islamabad High Court announces its verdict in a petition by Sharif to club three cases into one as all deal with allegedly making assets beyond known means. On November 23, the high court had reserved its judgement on the petition. It would announce the verdict any day and Sharif filed request for suspension of proceedings till the decision was announced. NAB’s prosecutor Sardar Muzzafar opposed the request and asked the court to continue hearing as already some witnesses had recorded their statement. However, the judge rejected NAB plea and adjourned the hearing till December 4.

On November 8, the accountability court had rejected a plea by Sharif to club all three cases together. He then filed an appeal in the Islamabad High Court against the decision. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment, Flagship Investment Ltd and the Avenfield (London) properties. Sharif and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all three NAB references, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference. On November 23, Maryam had requested exemption from December 5, 2017 to January 5, 2018, while Sharif sought exemption from December 5-12. The court has yet to decide on the two requests. Last month, Sharif was indicted in all three cases while his daughter Maryam and her husband Safdar were also indicted along with Sharif.

Sharif’s sons have failed to appear in the court despite repeated summons. Heavy security arrangements were made today and hundreds of security personnel deployed around the court premises to deal with any situation. The cases are based on July 28 verdict by the Supreme Court which disqualified Sharif as the prime minister and ordered to launch three corruption cases against him and his family, and one case against finance minister Ishaq Dar.

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