Former PM alleges courts have double standards; Trial of Sharifs in corruption NAB references begins
In another development in the NAB references former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday were granted exemption from appearance by the accountability court in Islamabad.
Before the hearing began, both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz filed separate applications for exemption from future court hearings.
The ousted PM, in his application, asked to be exempted from personal appearance at the hearings till November 27 as the next spell of his wife’s chemotherapy is about to begin.
“We have been together for 40 years, I can’t abandon my wife in testing times,” Sharif reasoned in his application.
In her application, Maryam said that she would present herself in court whenever there is a hearing. However, she requested the court allow Jahangir Jadoon to represent her in the court in case she had to leave the country in case of an emergency.
The NAB prosecutors objected to both applications.
However the accountability court exempted Nawaz Sharif from appearance for seven days from November 20th while Maryam has been granted exemption for a month.
Ousted Prime Minister’s sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz were declared proclaimed offenders in the NAB references against them.
During the hearing of NAB references against Nawaz Sharif and others, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Harris inquired about the status of Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.
Judge Muhammad Bashir responded that the 30-day deadline given to them to appear before the court had expired and they failed to show up.
The Judge then ordered that the accused would be called and referred as Proclaimed Offenders now onward in court’s communication and proceedings.
The accountability court had separated their trial from Nawaz Sharif and others in the references.
Accountability Court Wednesday formally began trial of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members in the references filed by NAB in the light of Supreme Court’s judgment in Panama Papers case.
The NAB prosecution presented its first two witnesses in court. Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Joint Registrar Sidra Mansoor and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Inland Revenue Department representative, Jahangir Ahmad recorded their statements.
Mansoor recorded her statement in the Avenfield flats reference, telling the court that she had appeared before the Investigation Officer in Lahore on August 18, and provided NAB documents containing the Sharif family’s financial records.
“The records that NAB has presented in court hold my signatures and thumb impressions,” Mansoor told the court, adding that, among other things, the records also contained audit reports of the Sharif family’s various businesses.
In her statement, Mansoor revealed that the Hudaibiya Paper Mills audit reports consistently showed Rs 4,946,000 in the company’s accounts for five years between 2000 and 2005.
When Sharif’s lawyer, Khawaja Haris, was given the floor to cross-question the first witness, he observed that the audit reports submitted by the SECP to NAB were photocopies and did not have the company’s stamp on them.
Defending the authenticity of the documents, Mansoor said that the photocopies were provided to the SECP by the Sharifs’ company as per the law.
FBR’s Jahangir Ahmad also recorded his witness statement and said that all tax records that NAB had provided to the court were given to the accountability body by his office.
Before Nawaz Sharif left the accountability court premises he spoke to the media and said, “The Panamagate verdict was given to tell the accountability court to make sure Nawaz Sharif is punished.” He added that the language used in the Panamagate verdict mirrors the language that his political opponents use.
These courts have double standards. On one had we can all see the way my case is being treated, on the other we see how other people’s cases are treated.” He told the media to mark his words, that the “judge will not give the punishment [on his own]” but will be dictated to do so.
He added that the principles and criteria of courts differ in his and Imran’s cases.