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Sharifs’ absence from court irks NAB

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RAWALPINDI, Aug 6: The deputy prosecutor general of National Accountability Bureau objected to non-appearance of members of the Sharif family during the hearing on Monday of two corruption references against them.

Accountability Court Judge Chaudhry Abdul Haq resumed hearing a NAB application seeking revival of corruption references relating to Ittefaq Foundries and Raiwind assets.

NAB’s DPG Chaudhry Mohammad Riaz informed the court that Mian Nawaz Sharif, Shahabaz Sharif, Mohammad Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Shamim Akhtar (mother of Nawaz Sharif), Sabiha Abbas and Maryam Safdar were accused in the corruption references and said that instead of appearing before the court in person they had submitted papers of attorney through their counsel.

He regretted that the accused were absent also at the last hearing on July 28. He argued that under the Criminal Procedure Code the attendance of the accused in criminal cases was compulsory unless allowed exemption by the court. He said that in these cases the court had not exempted the accused from personally attending the hearing.

But the court observed that since the references had not been revived and arguments on the NAB application were in the initial stages the presence of the accused was not required. The court decided to take up the two references, along with another relating to Hudaibia Paper Mills, on Sept 15.

Talking to reporters outside the court, PML-N legislator Advocate Anusha Rehman accused the PPP government of using the “dead corruption references” to blackmail Mian Nawaz Sharif.—Malik Asad

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