Nawaz to return to Islamabad today: sources | Pakistan

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to depart for Islamabad from Lahore today to attend the corruption case hearing against him on Monday (tomorrow). 

Sources said Nawaz will hold consultations with his political and legal aides on various issues. 

Reports also state that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will also hold meetings of its central working committee and general council next week to appoint Nawaz as the party’s president after his removal from office. 

Last week, the PML-N managed to amend the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 in the opposition-controlled Senate in favour of Nawaz’s bid to become the party president. The bill will now be moved back to the Lower House of Parliament, where the PML-N holds a majority, for voting.  

Nawaz, who with his family members is facing several cases of corruption in an accountability court, is set to be indicted in tomorrow’s hearing. 

Moreover, as of now, there is no official indication that Nawaz’s daughter Maryam, sons Hussain and Hasan, and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar — all accused in various cases — will appear in court despite orders.

At the last hearing on October 2, Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir ordered to indict Nawaz and issued bailable arrest warrants for his absent family members as they failed to appear in court despite two summons.

Nawaz and his family members had been summoned to the court with regards to three corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). 

Nawaz’s counsel, Khawaja Harris, pleaded the court to exempt his client from personal appearance. However, the judge observed that the matter would be deliberated upon once Nawaz has been indicted.

Following his appearance, Nawaz held a press conference at Punjab House — his usual residence in Islamabad since his disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28 — where he said he was not the one to flee judicial proceedings. 

He once again questioned the grounds for his disqualification as well as the way the corruption cases against him are proceeding.  

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 for the first time.

However, the Sharifs failed to appear before the court as they were all in London. The court then set September 26 as the next date of hearing, issuing another summons for the Sharif family. At that hearing, only Nawaz appeared in court. 

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 verdict.

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. 

News Reporter

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