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Wednesday Mar 07 2018

SC extends deadline of corruption cases against Sharif family by two months

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday a two-month extension in the deadline for concluding the corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

Moreover, the court also extended the deadline by three months of the assets accumulation case against former finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar. 

On July 28 last year, the Supreme Court had disqualified Nawaz and given a six-month deadline to the accountability court to complete the trial against the Sharif family. Similarly, the court had ordered proceedings against Dar with the same deadline. 

With that deadline ending on March 13, NAB had requested the apex court for an extension in the deadlines.

A special bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, heard the plea today.

During the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who was appointed the monitoring judge of the cases, observed that the lower court judge did not inform them of the time needed to complete the proceedings. 

NAB officials informed the court that two months are needed in the Dar case whereas more than one month would be required to complete the Sharif family cases. 

The apex court was informed that 11 of 18 witnesses have recorded their statements in reference number 18, 12 of 27 witnesses are yet to record their statements in reference number 19 and only three of 18 are yet to record their statements in reference number 20.  

During the hearing, Justice Ahsan also inquired how Dar could be re-elected as a senator when he is absconding in a court case. 

Reacting to the news, Nawaz's daughter Maryam, who is accused in the Avenfield reference, said on Twitter that had there been even a shred of evidence, the cases would not have had to be prolonged but rather finished by now.

The cases 

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017. 

The corruption references, filed against the Sharif family, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court. 


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