Islamabad: A Pakistani accountability court hearing corruption cases against the Sharif family today summoned deposed former prime minister on August 13 for his first court appearance following his incarceration.
The accountability court of judge Arshad Malik held the first hearing of the two graft cases – the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and the Hill Metal Establishment case – against Sharif after Islamabad High Court (IHC) this week accepted his plea to transfer them to another judge.
Three corruption cases were filed against Sharif and family last year. Sharif, 68, along with his daughter Maryam, 44 and his son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar are already serving jail terms of 10-years, seven years and one year respectively in Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, after an accountability court convicted them on July 6 over the family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London.
Sharif launched an appeal against the conviction in the IHC on July 16. On the same day he filed an application to transfer the remaining two cases to another court.
The IHC this week approved the application seeking transfer of pending corruption cases against Sharif and his two sons to another accountability court headed by judge Malik. As judge Malik resumed hearing today he asked the prosecution about the presence of Sharif and was told by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) lawyer that he was in jail and was not brought to the court due to security reasons.
The judge adjourned the hearing and ordered the prosecution to produce Sharif as well as Wajid Zia, the star prosecution witness in the case, on Monday. Apart from Sharif, his two sons -Hassan and Hussian – are also co-accused on all three corruption cases.
The court has already declared the two sons as absconders due to their persistent failure to appear before the court. They have been blacklisted by the authorities, barring them from travelling on their Pakistani passports.
Separately, the IHC will take up the hearing of the appeals of Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law against their conviction in the Avenfield properties corruption case on Monday.
The ownership of the four London flats by the Sharif family surfaced in the Panama Papers in April 2016, indicating that the posh properties were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif’s children. The Panama Papers cases were launched on September 8, 2016 following the Supreme Court verdict of July 28 that disqualified Sharif as prime minister and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to probe cases against him.