ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif resumed hearing the Al Azizia reference on Monday.
During the hearing headed by Justice Mohammad Bashir, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were granted three-day exemption from personal appearance as they are in London to visit ailing Kulsoom Nawaz.
Nawaz Sharif’s Counsel Khawaja Harris had submitted application for exemption for seven days along with the medical report of Kulsoom Nawaz.
Meanwhile, Khawaja Harris also expressed objections over judge Bashir, saying that you already had announced verdict against Sharif family in Avenfield reference.
The court sentenced on Friday Nawaz, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar to jail in the Avenfield properties reference.
During the hearing, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris objected to the judge’s hearing of the remaining two references against Nawaz after having given his verdict in one reference.
During the proceedings, Judge Mohammad Bashir remarked that the Supreme Court’s latest deadline [of July 10] to conclude the cases is ending, saying it is his job to write to the apex court to increase the deadline once more.
Haris argued that the judge cannot hear these cases as he has already given a verdict against his client in one reference and asked the judge to mention his objection in the letter to the apex court.
Haris contended that the proceedings should be taken forward once directions from the Supreme Court have been received in this regard.
He added that Nawaz and Mayam are returning to the country on Friday and pleaded that the hearing be adjourned until July 16.
“We wanted all the references to be decided simultaneously,” Nawaz’s counsel remarked further.
The hearing was then adjourned until July 12.
Moreover, Panama case joint investigation team head Wajid Zia had also appeared in court for cross-examination.
At the last hearing on July 3, Haris had begun Zia’s cross-examination in the case and was set to continue it today.
The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
After the court’s verdict against Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar in the Avenfield reference, the remaining cases pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and offshore companies including Flagship Investment Limited.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar were 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.
The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.
Later, the deadline was extended twice more, with the new date falling on July 10.