Nawaz accuses courts of 'double standard' as corruption trial begins

Nawaz accuses courts of 'double standard' as corruption trial begins

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Pakistan presented two prosecution witnesses against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members in an accountability court which formally began trial proceedings against them in corruption cases linked to the Panama Papers scandal.

The second witness Federal Board of Revenue's (FBR) Jahangir Ahmad also appeared before the Court to record his statements. The witness informed the judge that she appeared before the NAB Lahore team on August 18 and furnished all required documents regarding various business of Sharifs.

"The records that NAB has presented in court hold my signatures and thumb impressions", Mansoor said, adding that among other things the records also contained audit reports of the Sharif family's various businesses.

The next hearing of the case will take place on November 22, when four more prosecution witnesses have been summoned.

Nawaz and his two sons, Hussain and Hasan, are nominated in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and her husband MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are only accused in one.

"There is no question from others for skipping the proceedings; no one even asks the absconder (Imran Khan) for evading court proceedings for last two years [in cases concerning attack on PTV, parliament, SSP Asmatullah Junejo]", she underscored. However, she added, if some emergency arises, her pleader Jahangir Jadoon will appear on her behalf.

The NAB prosecutors had objected to both the application stating that Nawaz and his daughter are not ill and therefore their appearance for the court hearings must be ensured.

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However, the court has reserved verdict over the petitions. Subsequently, the court adjourned the hearing, saying to announce the verdict on Wednesday. The former premier's daughter and son-in-law have been made respondent in Avenfield properties case.

Thus, he added, separate references cannot be filed against him, requesting the court to club together all three references.

Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and retired Capt. Muhammad Safdar appeared before the court.

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.

The petition said the accountability court's order was based on a gross misreading of the "facts" on which it was purportedly based.

Speaking to the reporters after the hearing, the former premier underscored that the PML-N will continue working to end the courts' dual standards.

Ahmed also submitted the Sharif family's income tax returns in court.

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