Nawaz reaches Islamabad, to appear before accountability court on Tuesday

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, along with Maryam Nawaz, reached Islamabad from Lahore on Monday to appear before the accountability court on Tuesday.

Nawaz will be holding a meeting at Punjab house to discuss political strategy and course of action for the general elections in 2018.

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and ministers will be attending the PML-N meeting.

Earlier on October 26, the accountability court hearing corruption references against the Sharif family issued bailable warrants for former premier Nawaz Sharif in two references.

The hearing was then adjourned until November 3, with the last chance for the former premier to ensure his presence in court.

The cases have been filed by NAB in light of the Supreme Court’s order in the Panama Papers case.

At the hearing on October 19, Nawaz, in his absence, was indicted in the Avenfield properties case alongside Maryam and Safdar.

Nawaz has also been indicted in the two other references against him.

As Nawaz was in London, he was represented by his legal representative Zafir Khan who heard the charges and pleaded not guilty.

The references

The 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 Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.

Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar’s bail in the Avenfiled properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.

Safdar was also directed to take the court’s permission before leaving the country from now on. The judge also provided a copy of the reference — spread over 53 volumes — to Maryam and Safdar.

NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, 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 Finance Minister Ishaq 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.