Islamabad, Aug 9: An accountability court here has summoned deposed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to appear before it on August 13 in two pending corruption references against him and his family. It was the first hearing of the the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment graft cases after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) shifted the references from the court of accountability judge Mohammad Bashir to the court of judge Arshad Malik, Geo News reported. The trial against the Sharifs commenced on September 14, 2017 after Pakistan's anti-corruption body NAB filed cases relating to the Avenfield, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and offshore companies, including Flagship Investment Limited on the Supreme Court's directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict.
The officials of National Accountability Bureau told the court on Thursday that Sharif, who was supposed to appear before the court, could not be produced due to security concerns. The court then ordered the prosecution to present Sharif, Panamagate Joint Investigation Team head and prosecution's key witness Wajid Zia for the hearing on August 13.
On July 6, accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir had announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference handing 10-year jail term to Sharif for owning assets beyond declared income, seven years to his daughter Maryam Nawaz for abetment and one year to his son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar Awan.
Later, the three-time Premier, through his counsel Khawaja Haris, had filed an appeal in the IHC for the transfer of the other two references to another accountability court since the arguments in both cases were similar to the ones given in the Avenfield reference. Following that, Judge Bashir recused himself from hearing the pending references.