The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday gave former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and other family members another seven days to appear before the accountability court in connection with the Supreme Court-mandated corruption references.

NAB ordered that the family should appear before the court on September 26, directing that the summons be dispatched to the Sharif family's London address. Maryam Nawaz and her husband retired Captain Muhammad Safdar left for London on Monday to meet the rest of the family there.

During the court proceedings, NAB prosecutors told the court that they were not allowed entry into the Sharif family's multiple homes and had to hand the summons to the guards at each of the properties.

The prosecutors also said that earlier, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz had refused to receive the summons.

PML-N leader Asif Kirmani, who appeared in court on the Sharifs' behalf, said that the family was not present [in court] as they had all gone to be with Kulsoom Nawaz who is recovering from surgery.

Kirmani also told the court that Kulsoom is scheduled to undergo another surgery in the next couple of days, therefore an exact date for the family's return cannot be ascertained.

A PML-N leader close to the Sharif family had told Dawn on Monday that “Nawaz Sharif and his children will not appear before the accountability court and they are likely to skip all the proceedings of the accountability courts.”

Last month, the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had chosen not to appear before NAB after they were asked to join the investigation in different cases.

“The Sharifs are anticipating the outcome of these references, therefore they have no plans to appear before the accountability courts,” the PML-N leader had said.

A NAB official had told Dawn that the accountability court might issue bailable or non-bailable arrest warrants for members of the Sharif family if they did not turn up in court after receiving two summons. “We had exercised restraint and not issued arrest warrants for members of the Sharif family after they refused to join the investigation,” he had said. NAB usually issues arrest orders for suspects, even in “petty white-collar crime cases”, but NAB chief Qamar Zaman Chaudhry appears to be soft on the Sharifs.

Counsel for the Sharifs Advocate Amjad Pervez did not confirm whether his clients had told him to appear before the accountability court or not.

“There has been no consultation on their or my appearance before the accountability court,” Advocate Pervez told Dawn.

Maryam, who had led the NA-120 by-election campaign on behalf of her mother Kulsoom Nawaz for over a month, left for London on a foreign airline flight hours after her mother won the by-poll with over 61,000 votes.

Maryam and retired Capt Muhammad Safdar’s departure has already triggered speculation that the entire Sharif family has gathered in London and may not return to face corruption and money laundering references filed against them in the accountability courts.

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