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Friday Oct 13 2017

Nawaz Sharif pleads SC to file one corruption reference instead of three

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif filed a plea in the Supreme Court on Friday seeking the quashing of 'concurrent' corruption references against him. 

It also calls upon the Supreme Court to halt the accountability court proceedings of the three references against the Sharif family until a single reference is filed. 

The plea, filed by Nawaz's legal team under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, states that Section 9 (a) (5) of the National Accountability Ordinance holds that the reference against possession of assets beyond known sources of income should be one and not spread over several references. 

The petition states that the Supreme Court's July 28 direction to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file three corruption references to be declared illegal. 

The Sharif family's petition states that holding of several trials based on one allegation is against the basic rights of the petitioners.

Interestingly, the petition has named Nawaz's children, involved in the Panama Papers case, as respondents, along with the federation, NAB and accountability court. 

At present, Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are set to be indicted on October 19 by the accountability court hearing corruption cases against them.

The court has also separated the trials of Nawaz's sons, Hasan and Hussain, who have not shown up for a single hearing as they are in London.  

The references

The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and one against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.

The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court's order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.

NAB's Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.

Its Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family's Avenfield apartments in London and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.

If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets. 


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