AC declares Hassan, Hussain Nawaz absconders, to start recording statements

ISLAMABAD (NNI): An accountability court (AC) on Monday declared both Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz absconders in anti-graft references against them, and the case will now be heard in their absence.

The court will now record statements and collect evidence for their conviction. The decision was made in the light of persistent absence of both the brothers. It has started collecting record of evidence and witnesses in the three corruption references filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB), namely Avenfield properties, Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment.

NAB Islamabad official told thay they found no properties of the sons of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan. It was added that there shares and bank accounts had already been frozen in the anti-corruption probe.

The accountability court said that arrest warrants of both the Sharif family will be maintained. The statements of witnesses in the references against the Sharif family can also be used against Hassan and Hussain.

On November 15, the court had passed similar order declaring ex-prime minister’s sons as absconders, ruling that they are skipping court proceedings on regular basis which is unaccepted.

Meanwhile, the accountability court had resumed the hearing of Avenfield properties, Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment references against Sharif family after a short adjournment due to delay in the decision of Islamabad High Court (IHC) over ex-prime minister’s merger plea.

IHC had rejected Nawaz Sharif’s pleas seeking merger of all three National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references against him. The court has directed accountability court to continue trial against the Sharif family.

SC had disqualified Nawaz Sharif from office in July over unreported sources of annual income of about $10,000, a salary the former premier denies ever receiving. The high court also ordered the NAB to investigate and conduct a trial into the Sharif family’s wider finances, including the London properties.

Sharif maintains control of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which elected close ally Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister after Sharif was disqualified.