Accountability Court set to seek third extension in graft cases against Sharif family

ISLAMABAD: As the revised deadline is nearing up pertaining to conclude corruption references against the Sharif family and former finance minister Ishaq Dar, the accountability court today decided to seek one more extension from the Supreme Court.

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The second deadline will end at June 9th, 2018.

As today the court resumed the hearing in the Al-Azizia reference, accountability judge Mohammad Bashir remarked that he would write a letter to the SC seeking another extension.

The SC in the July 28, 2017 Panamagate verdict, while ousting Nawaz Sharif from the post of prime minister, had directed the accountability court to open references against him and his family with instructions to wrap up the references within six months.

The National Accountability Bureau (Nab), on the SC’s directives, had filed the quartet of references before the court in September 2017. When the SC-ascertained six-month deadline expired in March 2018, a two-month extension was granted.

NAB had filed three references on the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistanis only Avenfield reference has been seemingly ended.

According to the Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir the verdict in all three reference will come simultaneously.

Nawaz is due to appear in at least another round of accountability court appearances in which he will called to record his statement in the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references.

The court is currently recording the testimony of Wajid Zia — the star prosecution witness in the Al-Azizia reference and the head of the joint investigation team (JIT) that probed the Panama Papers case.

After him, the prosecution will produce their final witness in Al-Azizia reference: an investigation official of the NAB.

At some point, Zia and the NAB officer in question will also have to testify in the Flagship reference, while recording of the final arguments in all three references is also on the agenda.

Zia’s testimony
During Zia’s cross-examination on Monday, he said that there were two parties involved in the 1978 sale agreement of the Gulf Steel Mills: Muhammad Hussain and Tariq Shafi.

He added that the JIT could not trace the whereabouts of Hussain’s legal heir Shehzad and did not quiz Tariq Shafi on the subject when he had appeared before the investigation team.

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