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ISLAMABAD: The next hearing in the Hudaibya Paper Mills case was postponed till Friday due to a tragedy in the family of a Supreme Court judge.

Justice Mushir Alam, who is heading the three-judge bench, observed: “Because of a tragedy in Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel’s family, the hearing cannot proceed and therefore we have to adjourn the case till day after tomorrow.”

The bench is seized with an appeal instituted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against a 2014 decision of the Lahore High Court to quash the reference.

However, before adjourning the case, Justice Alam asked NAB Special Prosecutor Imranul Haq to convince the court as to why it should allow re-opening of the corruption reference now when the case was initially filed in 2000.

The court also asked the prosecutor to submit a trail of evidence against the respondents which would also benefit the trial court if the apex court granted permission to revisit the reference.

In the NAB appeal, Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Shamim Akhtar — mother of the two — Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif, now deceased, Maryam Safdar, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Messers Hudaibya Paper Mills Ltd, the federal government as well as the judge of the accountability court No IV Rawalpindi have been made respondents.

In a fresh plea, NAB accused deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif of exerting his influence as the chief executive of the country to prevent filing of the appeal in the Rs1.2 billion reference. Therefore, it pleaded that the Supreme Court should condone the delay in the filing of the appeal in the interest of justice, fair play and equity.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2017