ISLAMABAD: Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir resumed hearing the Al Azizia and Flagship corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday.
As the hearing went under way, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris reiterated his objection to the proceedings being heard by the same judge that has already ruled in one of the three corruption cases against his client.
The judge remarked that he has written about the matter to the high court, adding that transferring the case to another court does not come under his jurisdiction.
NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi argued that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has not issued any stay order on the trial proceedings and called for continuation of the cases.
He added that it would be appropriate if the same judge who has overseen the case since day one presides over the trial in its concluding phase.
With regards to conducting the trial inside the jail, the judge observed that it is not a simple matter where one can just pick up everything and start hearing the case inside the jail.
Haris claimed that the objective behind the jail trial is simple: to prevent his client from being seen or heard before the July 25 election.
Haris also stated that they would not become part of the proceedings until the IHC rules on their plea to transfer the case to another trial court.
The hearing was then adjourned until July 30.
On Tuesday, (yesterday), the IHC took up the Sharif family’s appeals and issued notices to the NAB and adjourned the matter until the last week of July.
The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017 after NAB filed the Avenfield, Al Azizia and Flagship references.
On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
Nawaz was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) while Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Moreover, Maryam’s husband, Capt (retd) Safdar, was sentenced to one year in prison.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.