The Islamabad High Court on Monday dismissed ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea to club three corruption cases against him. A two-member bench issued a short order turning down his appeal and said that a detailed judgment would be issued later.
The cases were registered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8 against Sharif, his family in the Accountability Court Islamabad, following a verdict by Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case. The accountability court in Islamabad had on November 8 rejected a plea by 67-year-old Sharif to club his cases, which he challenged in the Islamabad High Court.
The IHC had completed the hearing and reserved the judgment on November 23, which it announced on Monday. The three cases against the Sharif family are related to the Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment, Flagship Investment Ltd and the Avenfield (London) properties.
Earlier, the accountability court postponed hearing of graft cases against Sharif until Monday afternoon due to the expected verdict of the high court. Sharif along with his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar appeared in the court.
His lawyer Khawaja Harris requested Judge Mohammad Bashir to suspend proceedings and wait for the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision on a petition by Sharif to club his three graft cases into one, as all were related to his alleged amassing of assets beyond the known sources of income.
The court after hearing the argument from the NAB prosecutor postponed hearing till 1 pm and allowed Sharif to go home but ordered him to be present when the hearing would restart. Sharif and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all the three NAB cases, while Maryam and her husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield case.
Maryam on November 23 had requested exemption from personal appearance from December 5, 2017 to January 5, 2018, while Sharif sought exemption from December 5-12. Last month, Sharif was indicted in all three cases while his daughter Maryam and her husband Safdar, co-accused with Sharif in only one case, were also indicted along with Sharif.
Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain have failed to appear in the court despite repeated summons which prompted the court to separate their cases. Heavy security arrangements were made and hundreds of security personnel deployed around the court premises.
The cases are based on July 28 verdict by the Supreme Court which disqualified Sharif and ordered to launch three corruption cases against him and his family, and one case against finance minister Ishaq Dar in the Panama Papers case. Dar had been relieved of his duties after the ailing politician, who was declared a proclaimed absconder by a court in the case, requested leave for three months.