Nawaz, daughter request exemption from court proceedings to visit Begum Kulsoom

Court reserves verdict on Nawaz, Maryam exemption pleas as hearing adjourned till Nov 22

NAB presents two witnesses in Sharif family's corruption references as trial formally begins

An accountability court on Wednesday formally initiated trial proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law MNA Capt (r) Safdar in three graft references filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The court officially began hearing of the NAB references today to record statements from witnesses including Securities and Exchange Commission Pakistan (SECP) officer Sidra Mansur and Federal Bureau Revenue's Jahangir Ahmad. 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.

Mansur stated that the audit report of Hudaibiya Mills from 2000-2005 has been submitted to the accountability court which has forwarded it to NAB.

Subsequently, the Sharif family's counsel Khawaja Haris cross examined her.

Following the recording of the statement, Mansoor was cross-examined.

Nawaz submitted an exemption from appearance request, from November 20 for a week, owing to the ongoing medical treatment of his wife Kulsoom in London. He claimed that his pleader, Zafir Khan would ensure appearances on his behalf during his absence.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar also reached NAB Court to attend hearing for the eighth time.

Moreover, Hussain and Hasan Nawaz were also declared proclaimed offenders due to continuous no-show at the court proceedings.

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The Sharifs then exited the court, however, the hearing is now under way.

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

Whereas, Sharif and his two sons - Hassan and Hussain - have been nominated in three references related to the London flats, Al-Aziza Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment.

Other Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leaders including Tariq Fatemi, Saad Rafique, Talal Chaudhry and Marriyum Aurangzeb were also present during the hearing.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a day earlier challenged the decision of the accountability court which rejected his plea to merge all the three references filed against him into one.

Before the hearing began, both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz filed separate applications for exemption from future court hearings. He said the court ruling also carried a message that seemed to suggest "Nawaz Sharif be punished at any cost".

On Nov 8, the accountability court's Judge Muhammad Bashir rejected the Sharif's application for joint trial and framed charges against him in each of the three references.

Earlier a bench of the IHC granted Sharif's request with regard to clubbing together the three corruption references filed against him, and revoked the accountability court's Oct 19 verdict, directing it to reconsider the request.

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