Sharif challenges accountability court's decision

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As the accountability court on Wednesday formally initiated trial proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law MNA Capt (r) Safdar in three graft references filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), it approved the plea of Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz seeking exemption from personal appearance during court hearings.

Nawaz and his family is facing corruption charges filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) in the wake of Supreme Court orders in Panama Papers case.

The former premier and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all three NAB references, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference.

The hearing has been adjourned till November 22.

Nawaz, who reached Islamabad earlier from Lahore, arrived at the court from Punjab House along with Maryam and Safdar. His pleader, Zafir Khan, will appear on Sharif's behalf during his absence. When the court inquired her reasons, Maryam's counsel lister her mother's ailment, security issues, and the need to look after her young daughter as the reasons.

The decision on both requests was reserved and stated to be announced around 1pm.

FBR's Jahangir Ahmad also recorded his witness statement and said that all tax records that NAB had provided to the court were given to the accountability body by his office.

Mansoor recorded her statement in the Avenfield flats reference, telling the court that she had appeared before the Investigation Officer in Lahore on August 18, and provided NAB documents containing the Sharif family's financial records.

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NAB prosecutor also filed record and audit report of the Hudaibiya Papers Mills.

The counsels of Nawaz and his children, Khawaja Harris and Amjad Pervez, raised objection that the witness submitted unverified documents as they did not have company's stamp. The court had also rejected the petition.

"These courts have double standards". He hoped that their struggle would lead to logical conclusion.

The judge also ordered that from now on they will be mentioned as proclaimed offenders in every court order.

A number of workers and leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were present inside and outside the court premises to welcome the party president.

According to Geo News, the former prime minister criticized the courts when a journalist asked him to comment on relief Imran Khan got in cases against him.

Earlier a bench of the IHC granted Sharif's request with regard to clubbing together the three corruption references filed against him, and revoked the accountability court's Oct 19 verdict, directing it to reconsider the request.

To a question, he hoped the trial would be fair. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.