Thursday July 18, 2024

Hussain, Hasan Nawaz to return to Pakistan on March 12, court told

Petitions filed seeking suspension of Nawaz Sharif's sons' arrest warrants in Avenfield, Al Azizia and flagship references

By Arfa Feroz Zake
March 06, 2024
Hussain (left) and Hasan Nawaz, sons of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. — AFP/File
Hussain (left) and Hasan Nawaz, sons of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Hussain and Hasan Nawaz, sons of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, will be returning to Pakistan on March 12, the former premier's counsel Qazi Misbah told an accountability court on Wednesday. 

The lawyer revealed during a hearing of the Toshakhana case against Nawaz, Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani. 

The veteran politicians have been accused of having kept various vehicles in violation of the Toshakhana rules.

"Hussain and Hasan Nawaz want to appear before the court [and they would] return to the country on March 12," Misbah apprised the court during the hearing hearing conducted by Accountability Court Judge Nasir Javed.

Recalling that the sons of the ex-prime minister had been declared absconders in the Avenfield reference, the defence counsel acknowledged that his clients had not appeared before the court in Avefield, Al Azizia and Flagship references.

Furthermore, separate appeals seeking suspension of Hussain and Hasan's arrest warrants in the aforementioned cases were also filed.

The court then issued notices to the ex-prime minister's sons for tomorrow in response to Misbah's request — which wasn't opposed by Prosecutor Usman Masood.

Elaborating on the case hearing while speaking to Geo News, Misbah said that all the others accused in the said cases had been acquitted by the high court with the exception of his clients who weren't able to appear before the court.

Toshakhana reference

Meanwhile, the court also summoned the investigation officer to appear before the court in the Toshakhana case on March 19.

It is pertinent to mention that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed against Zardari and Nawaz accuses them of obtaining cars from Toshakhana (the gift depository) by paying 15% of the price of the cars.

In November 2023, an accountability court in Islamabad ordered to unseize the properties, vehicles, and bank accounts owned by Nawaz following his return to the country in October.

However, Nawaz is not the only politico named in the case as the reference also includes Zardari who received cars as gifts from Libya and the UAE when he was president and used them for his personal use instead of depositing them in the treasury, the anti-graft body has alleged.

Whereas Gillani has been accused of facilitating Zardari and Nawaz in this matter. The anti-graft body has accused Gillani of relaxing the procedure for acceptance and disposal of gifts.

Khawaja Anwar Majeed and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, owners of the Omni Group, are also nominated as accused in the reference.

According to reports, Nawaz was not holding any public office in 2008 but was given a vehicle without any justification. NAB said the leaders have been charged with corruption under sub-sections 2, 4, 7 and 12 of Section 9 (A) of the NAB Ordinance.

A gift from any country to the head of the state and deposited in the Toshakhana remains the property of the government unless sold at an open auction. Rules allow officials to retain gifts with a market value of less than Rs10,000 without paying anything.

This is a similar Toshakhana case to that which led to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi being sentenced to 14 years over buying and selling of gifts in state possession that were received during visits abroad and worth more than Rs140 million ($635,000).

The former premier has since then moved the Supreme Court seeking nullification of his conviction in the said case.