Nawaz pleas to club graft cases rejected

Islamabad

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar rejected on Wednesday former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea to club the three corruption cases against him into one.
Nawaz, disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28 last year in the Panama Papers case, had filed a petition in the apex court seeking to merge the three National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references against him.
That petition had been rejected by the Supreme Court Registrar, after which Nawaz filed an appeal before the chief justice.
Hearing the appeal in his chamber today (Wednesday), Chief Justice Nisar rejected the plea.
In light of the Supreme Court’s verdict, NAB filed three corruption references — Al Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, Avenfield properties, and offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd — against Nawaz and his family in the accountability court.
Meanwhile the accountability court here on Wednesday issued a detailed verdict on a plea seeking an exemption from personal appearance before the court, filed by Sharif family members in a graft reference. “An exemption from personal appearances on grounds of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s ailment couldn’t be justified,” Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir wrote.
The plea was filed during a trial on Feb 15 in three corruption references, namely Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Flagship Investments and Avenfield, against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar.
Sharif’s counsel then pleaded the judge to grant his client a permission to visit his ailing wife in London by exempting the three from personal appearance before the court from February 19 to March 5.
At last hearing, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Muzaffar Abbasi opposed the plea and contended that the Supreme Court’s deadline to wrap up the case is approaching, as he said, the month of March is nearing.—INP

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