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IHC dismisses Nawaz’s plea seeking joint verdict on NAB references

By Faisal Kamal Pasha
June 23, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed on Friday former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's petition seeking a simultaneous verdict on the three corruption cases against him.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani disposed of the petition after an additional deputy prosecutor general (ADPG) National Accountability Bureau (NAB) informed the court that the final arguments in Avenfield apartments corruption reference are already underway and likely to be concluded soon. Given this fact, the application has become immaterial, the IHC bench said.

Nawaz Sharif had been seeking directions for the AC to simultaneously render judgments in the three corruption references as decided by it earlier on November 8, 2017 and now according to the petitioner, the trial court deviating from an earlier understanding.

Counsels for Nawaz Sharif Amjad Pervez and Azam Nazir Tarrar contended that the entire case of (NAB) prosecution in all the three references revolves around the establishment of Gulf Steel Mills, its sale proceed and consequential investment with Qatari royal family. Therefore, they said, the simultaneous adjudication is necessary to avoid any prejudice to be caused to the petitioner in terms of disclosing the defence.

The NAB ADPG had argued that the petitioner failed to point out any prejudice that is likely to be caused. Counsels for Nawaz Sharif said that fair trial is fundamental right of their client. They said separately deciding three references would compromise the fair trial.

Earlier, the AC on June 5 had dismissed an application of Nawaz Sharif for postponement of the final arguments in Avenfield apartments reference as his counsel Khawaja Haris wanted to first complete statement and cross-examination on Wajid Zia in all the three references including Al-Azizia and Flagship. The AC however putting cross-examination in Al-Azizia reference on halt, had allowed the prosecution to forward final arguments in Avenfield apartments reference. Nawaz Sharif had been contending before the court to set aside that AC decision.