Accountability court resumes hearing against Sharifs

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Nawaz Sharif has been exempted from appearance for seven days from November 20th while Maryam has been granted exemption for a month. Sharif said that he wanted to go to London to visit his ailing wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, who is London for cancer treatment. However, she requested the court allow Jahangir Jadoon to represent her in court in case she had to leave the country in case of an emergency.

Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir is expected to rule on both these applications within a day.

During the proceedings, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan's (SECP) Joint Registrar Sidra Mansoor recorded her statement as the first witness in the Avenfield flats reference.

She further claimed that she had provided the bureau with the 2000-2005 audit report of Hudabiya Paper Mills. The high court had then fixed November 20 as the next date for the next hearing. Four witnesses have been summoned for the next hearing.

In another development in the NAB references against Sharif family, former minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz have been granted exemption from appearance by the accountability court in Islamabad today (Wednesday).

Despite the light rain in the capital, several workers and leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were in and outside the court complex to welcome the party chief. Later, he rejected Sharif's plea to club all three references into one and indicted Sharif separately in each of the three references.

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Also on Tuesday, the bench had rejected a miscellaneous application of the former prime minister seeking to restrain the trial court from proceeding in the NAB references until his application is decided.

To a question, he hoped the trial would be fair.

According to the Dawn, Sharif's lawyer Azam Tar said the court took the decision in a hurry. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.

Nawaz, along with Maryam and Safdar had earlier reached Islamabad from Lahore. The court had took up the petition again following the directions of the Supreme Court.

NAB's Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the almost dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.

If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.

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