Nawaz indicted in 3 corruption references

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Plea for clubbing NAB cases rejected; Former PM says verdict to be written in black letters
Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

Accountability Court (AC) hearing NAB references against former Prime Minister and his family members Wednesday rejected an application filed by the former prime minister for clubbing together the three references.
The court had reserved its ruling on Sharif’s application on Tuesday after hearing arguments from both the defense counsel and the NAB prosecution.
The court on Wednesday also decided on an application filed by Maryam Nawaz and her husband Safdar for deletion of a charge related to the use of Calibri font. Announcing its judgment, the court decided to delete Section 3(a) of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 dealing with forgery from the charges against the couple.
The charge could be reinstated in case the prosecution comes up with solid evidence against the accused related to forgery.
After the announcement of the judgement, the accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir read out the charges against Nawaz Sharif who was indicted separately in each of the three references. Nawaz Sharif denied all the charges.
While at the rostrum, Sharif expressed his concern that since the Supreme Court had given a six-month deadline for the references to be wrapped up, deciding four references in this period would mean each case gets just 1.5 months. However, the judge observed that the cases could conclude within the timeframe if heard simultaneously.
After the indictment, the court revived summons for the prosecution witnesses Sidra Mansoor of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Jahangir Ahmed of Federal Board of Revenue for their presence in the next hearing to be held on 15th of November.
Speaking to reporters as he left the court, Nawaz Sharif said he already knew the Supreme Court’s judgment in review petitions. Sharif said the judiciary had penned several dark chapters in Pakistan’s history during dictatorial rules and the judgement on the review petition would be “written in dark letters” as well.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who was scheduled to appear before the court on Wednesday in connection with the reference trial, filed an application in the court to nominate a pleader. The application filed by Dar’s junior counsel stated that he is currently in London due to ill health and would prefer to be represented by a pleader in the court on his behalf.
Dar’s counsel also submitted to the court the minister’s medical report verified by the Foreign Office. NAB prosecution opposed the application, urging the court to issue non-bailable arrest warrants against the accused.
After initially reserving its judgment on the application, the court declared that Dar must appear in the court himself and he could then file an application stating he wants to be represented by a pleader. The court upheld the bailable arrest warrants previously issued against Dar and doubled the surety ordered against the warrants from Rs1 million to 2m. The hearing of the case was adjourned until November 14.

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