Hearing of pending graft cases against Sharif adjourned

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Islamabad, Aug 13 (IANS) An accountability court here on Monday adjourned the hearings of two remaining corruption references against deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family till August 15 following a commotion over reported firing outside the court premises, the media reported.

Sharif arrived in an armoured car for the hearing in the cases pertaining to Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment as well as Flagship Investment, but it was adjourned after a police officer’s gun misfired outside the court’s central gate near media personnel, the Express Tribune reported. An inquiry was initiated into the firing incident.

The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader was taken back to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan’s anti-corruption body NAB had filed three cases — Avenfield, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and offshore companies, including Flagship Investment Limited — against Sharifs on the Supreme Court’s directives in the July 2017 Panamagate verdict. The trial commenced in September that year.

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The three-time Premier and his sons Hasan and Hussain were accused in all the three graft references whereas his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.

Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Safdar are already serving prison sentence of 10 years, seven years and one year, respectively after being convicted in the Avenfield case — the family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London.

Accountability court Judge Arshad Malik on Monday heard the remaining references and summoned the investigation officer of the cases at the next hearing.

Panamagate Joint Investigation Team head and prosecution’s key witness Wajid Zia also appeared before the court. He was cross-examined in the Al-Azizia reference and was yet to record his statement in the Flagship reference.

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Sharif was expected to appear before the court in the last hearing, but National Accountability Bureau officials had told the court that he could not be produced due to security concerns.

–IANS

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