SC extends deadline to conclude graft cases against Nawaz, family till June 9

May 10, 2018 at 6:35 am

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Wednesday granted a one month extension to the Accountability Court (AC) of Islamabad to conclude references against former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his family till June 9.

A two-member SC bench headed chaired by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed heard the plea moved by AC Judge Mohammed Bashir seeking second three-month extension in the deadline to conclude the cases.

The last deadline given by the apex court is May 12.

During the course of proceedings, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, being the monitoring judge of the references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in pursuance to the SC verdict in the Panama Papers case, inquired from the counsels of the litigants that as to why the trials had not yet been concluded.

NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi informed the bench that the trial in one reference regarding the Avenfield property had been concluded from their side.

Justice Ahsan then asked whether the verdict in the reference in which arguments had been concluded, would be given separately from the other two references or the decision in all the references would be delivered at the same time.

Khawaja Haris, counsel for Nawaz Sharif, replied that the trial court had already decided that it would announce the verdict in all three references on the same day.

To a bench query, Khawaja Haris apprised the court that at least three months should be given for a fair trial.

As the holy month of Ramazan was around the corner, a three-month extension should be given, he added.

Justice Azmat observed that the counsel could come to them again if the trial would not conclude in a month, however, there would be no compromise on delivering justice.

Justice Ahsan remarked that the rights of the accused would be safeguarded at all costs and cited Article 10-A of the Constitution.

The accountability court is hearing three references pertaining to Avenfield London property, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments filed by the NAB against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

Earlier in March, the top court had granted the two-month extension in original six-month deadline to the trial court for wrapping up the cases.

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