Hudaibiya case: SC asks NAB regarding charges against suspects

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has resumed hearing the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) plea to order reinvestigation into the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

The case, involving money laundering charges against the Sharif family, was initiated by NAB in 2000 but quashed by the Lahore High Court in 2014.

The bench is headed by Justice Mushir Alam and includes Justices Qazi Faez Isa and Mazhar Alam Miankhel.

As the proceedings commenced, Justice Isa asked the NAB prosecutor about the charges against the suspects in the case.

The bench also inquired as to where the Hudaibiya case is mentioned in the July 28 Panama Papers case judgment.

The hearing was then adjourned unitl 11am Wednesday (tomorrow).

At the last hearing on Monday (yesterday), the three-member bench had dismissed  NAB’s request to adjourn proceedings of the case until a new prosecutor general is appointed at the bureau.

The bench was informed by the NAB prosecutor that the case material it had asked for at the previous hearing has been submitted.

The judges then went over the circumstances surrounding the case following the 1999 military coup and NAB’s failure to pursue the case after the then deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif went into exile.

Media stopped from conducting analysis on case

During the hearing, the court also ordered to restrict analyses of the case on electronic media and stated that only the reporting of facts would be permitted.
It further stated that live shows on the facts of the case would not be allowed.

NAB’s appeal

On September 20 this year, NAB filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) 2014 decision, naming former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his brothers Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and late Abbas Sharif, their mother Shamim Akhter, Shehbaz’s son and MNA Hamza Shehbaz, Nawaz’s daughter Maryam, and others as respondents.
The NAB has pleaded the Supreme Court to dismiss the LHC decision to quash the case and order a reinvestigation into the scam as per the new evidence which surfaced in the Panama case Joint Investigation Team report.

Hudaibiya Paper Mills case

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills was allegedly used as a cover by the Sharif family to launder money outside the country in the 1990s.
It was in relation to this case that the Sharif family’s trusted aide, Ishaq Dar, recorded a confessional statement on April 25, 2000 in front of a magistrate in Lahore accepting his role in laundering money.
On the basis of that confession, a reference was filed by the NAB in 2000 before an accountability court against the Hudabiya Paper Mills, three Sharif brothers, Dar and others.
Dar was not charged as he had become an approver for the prosecution.
That reference was struck down by a referee judge of the LHC on March 11, 2014 in response to a writ petition filed in 2011 stating that Dar’s confession was coerced.
Dar had claimed that he had made the ‘confession’ under duress and disowned the statement.