AC gets last extension to wind up trial against Nawaz

Islamabad (HRNW): The Supreme Court on Friday granted an accountability court five more weeks to complete trial against former premier Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia and Flagship corruption cases. A bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, granted the sixth and last extension in trial period of Nawaz Sharif. Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Haris informed that statement of the accused under Section 342 CrPC is yet to be recorded in one of the two pending references. Whereas, deposition of star witness Wajid Zia has yet not been recorded in the other case. Zia’s statement usually takes two weeks to complete, he added and pleaded the top court to extend the deadline for disposal of the NAB cases against his client until November 30.

The chief justice, while granting six week’s extension, said this is the last extension for the accountability judge to wind up the trial proceedings. If the matter is not decided within the deadline, the judge would be held responsible, he warned. The fifth deadline to wind up trial against Nawaz Sharif, and members of his family in the Al-Azizia and Flagship corruption cases in six weeks expired earlier this week. The accountability court of Judge Arshad Malik is currently seized with hearing of the corruption cases against the former premier. In the Al-Azizia case, the court has recorded depositions of all prosecution witnesses. Nawaz Sharif’s statement will likely be recorded in the next hearing of the case.

Whereas, star witness Wajid Zia, who was the head of the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT), and the investigation officer are yet to testify in the Flagship reference. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed three references against the Sharif family in pursuance of the July 28 order that disqualified Nawaz Sharif from the office of prime minister. A reference pertaining to the Sharif family’s Avenfield properties in London has been decided while Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references are pending disposal. On July 6, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of eleven years in prison and imposed a £8 million fine in the corruption reference. His daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine while Safdar was given a one-year sentence.

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