ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has reached Islamabad and is set to appear before an accountability court hearing three corruption references filed against him and his family.
The accountability court had summoned Sharif, his children Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz, and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar on Oct 2 (Monday) in references pertaining to Avenfield apartments, Azizia Steel Mills and offshore companies filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Judge Mohammad Bashir will conduct the hearing, during which the former premier is expected to be indicted. In the last hearing, the ousted prime minister was provided copies of references against him.
On September 26, the court had also issued bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz’s daughter Maryam, sons Hussain and Hasan, and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar as they failed to appear it, despite two earlier summons.
However, speaking to the media on Sunday, Sharif said his children would return from London and appear before the court once his wife’s health improves. He made the remarks after visiting the grave of his father along with his brother Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier today in Lahore.
The former prime minister is also expected to hold consultations with his political and legal aides on various issues during his stay in Islamabad.
Nawaz’s appearance in court will follow the indictment of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar by the same judge last week in a reference pertaining to his owning ‘assets beyond his known sources of income’.
NAB has in total 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 anti-graft body 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.
Its 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 may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.