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December 8, 2018

SC asks AC to decide references against Sharif family by 24th

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December 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the accountability court to conclude by December 17 the hearing in the remaining two corruption references filed against Sharif family and announce judgment by December 24.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar heard the petition filed by the Accountability Court II Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik, seeking extension for deciding the Al Azizia and Flagship corruption references against Sharif family.

The court directed Khawaja Haris, counsel for Sharif family, to ensure completion of his arguments in the matter until December 17 and directed the accountability court to announce verdict by December 24 in Al Azizia and Flagship corruption references.

Khawaja Haris sought further time, contending that he is yet to present his arguments before the accountability court.

The chief justice expressed reservations over the repeated requests by the counsel seeking more time aimed to prolong the case. The chief justice asked Khawaja Haris whether someone was telling a fairy tale in the accountability court.

“You have held the entire nation and the court hostage by prolonging the case,” the chief justice told Khawaja Haris, and further asked if the counsel cannot complete the work well on time, he should not engage himself in a case.

Khawaja Haris replied that he don’t have the energy the chief justice has. “Have you received a complaint from the accountability court,” Khawaja Haris asked, to which the chief justice replied that they did not, but an impression is being given that the counsel was delaying the matter.

Khawaja Haris then replied that he could even quit the case. The chief justice said that leaving the case also means delaying the matter, but he will not let him boycott the case.

“In my opinion it is inappropriate to assume that I am using delaying tactics,” Khawaja Haris contended.

Meanwhile, to a court query, Khawaja Haris submitted that he will conclude his arguments by December 17 which the court accepted and directed the Accountability Court to conclude until December 17 the hearing in remaining two corruption references and announce the verdict by December 24. Earlier, on October 12, the court had extended the time for sixth time and directed the accountability court to conclude until November 17 the corruption references filed against the Sharif family with clear cut direction that after this no further time will be granted.

An accountability court on July 6 found former premier Nawaz Sharif and two of his family members guilty in one of the four corruption references filed against them in line with the apex court’s July 28, 2017 order and awarded them imprisonment and heavy financial penalties.

In the verdict on Avenfield Apartments reference announced by Judge Muhammad Bashir, the court sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years imprisonment, his daughter Maryam to seven years imprisonment and son-in-law Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar to one year imprisonment.

The accused were also disqualified to contest election or to hold public office for a period of 10 years to be reckoned from the date they are released after serving the sentence and they shall not be allowed to apply for or to be granted or allowed any financial facilities in the form of a loan for a period of 10 years from the date of their conviction within the meaning of Section 15 of NAO 1999.

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