Nawaz appears before NAB court; arrest warrants issued for Sharif children


ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing corruption cases against the Sharif family issued on Tuesday bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam, sons Hussain and Hasan, and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar to ensure their presence.

The Sharif family members had been summoned to appear in court today with regards to three corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Moreover, the Sharif family members have been directed to submit surety bonds worth Rs1 million each.

Judge Mohammad Bashir also ordered the Sharif children to appear in court on October 2, the next date of hearing. At present, all four are in London tending to Begum Kulsoom Nawaz who is undergoing treatment for lymphoma.

The Sharif family members had failed to appear in court on September 19, after which another summons was issued for all of them for today.

As the hearing began, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbas informed the court that the security staff at Sharifs’ Jati Umra residence in Lahore refused to accept the summons for Hussain and Hasan Nawaz, stating that they reside outside the country.

He added that the summons of Hasan was then delivered to him London through the second secretary at Pakistan’s High Commission but he still did not appear in court today.

During today’s hearing, the court also set October 2 as the date to indict Nawaz in the three references.

As Nawaz appeared in court today, the judge allowed the former prime minister to exit the court after marking his attendance so the proceedings could begin properly.

Nawaz’s counsel, Khawaja Harris, represented Nawaz and was provided copies of the three references against his client.

The references

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed three references against Nawaz and his family, pertaining to which an accountability court summoned them on September 19.

However, the Sharifs failed to appear before the court as they were all in London. The court then set September 26 (today) as the next date of hearing, issuing another summons for the Sharif family.

NAB, in total, has filed three references against the Sharif family and one against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.

The bureau was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Al Azizia Steel Mills, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies.

NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.

The bureau’s Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.

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