Nawaz, Maryam reach court; Al Azizia hearing adjourned till tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam reached the accountability court hearing three corruption reference against them today.

Nawaz’s son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar was also present to attend the hearing.

Talking to reporters inside the courtroom, Nawaz said Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq’s recent statement regarding the election of the Senate chairman should be pondered over.

“Imran should also ask himself on whose orders his party gave votes in the election,” said Nawaz, adding that will the people who practice un-principled politics bring ‘change’?

The former premier also challenged the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief to own his vote for the Pakistan Peoples Party and also inform the public how the party’s candidate Chaudhry Sarwar bagged a Senate seat from Punjab.

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the accountability court after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.

As Judge Mohammad Bashir began the proceedings, the hearing of the Al Azizia reference was adjourned until tomorrow owing to the unavailability of Wajid Zia, the Panama case JIT head who was expected to record his statement in the reference today.

Zia has earlier recorded his statement and been cross-examined in the Avenfield reference.

The hearing of the Avenfield case will resume at 2pm today.

At the hearing of the Avenfield properties reference on Friday, the judge allowed Nawaz and Maryam to be exempted from the hearing but did not approve their request to be exempted from the next hearing — on April 23.

Moreover, the court had accepted NAB’s plea to submit new evidence in the case as well as introduce another witness.

Earlier today, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers welcomed Nawaz and Maryam at the airport earlier today after the father-daughter duo reached Islamabad from London.
Speaking to the media upon his arrival in the federal capital, Nawaz requested for prayers for his wife Begum Kulsoom’s good health.
Maryam, before departure from London, had posted a message on Twitter saying that the two will attend the court hearing if their exemption request is denied — which it was.
The two had reached London Wednesday night to visit the ex-premier’s wife, Kulsoom, who is undergoing treatment for cancer here.

The cases

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
NAB to file three supplementary references against Nawaz
The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, 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 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.