An accountability court in Islamabad on Friday rejected Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz's requests for a week's exemption from appearing before it for the Avenfield properties reference.

The accountability judge, however, accepted the Sharifs' request for exemption from appearing in court today, adding that a new application may be submitted if the accused cannot make it to the court due to unavoidable circumstances.

Sharif, his daughter and two sons — Hussain and Hassan — are the prime accused in a case concerning their alleged acquisition of properties in London through unfair means.

While Hassan and Hussain, not active in Pakistani politics, were already in London, Sharif and Maryam left on Wednesday to see the ailing Kulsoom Nawaz and promising to return for accountability hearings if not granted an exemption by the court.

In today's hearing, the court permitted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to present additional documents regarding the Avenfied properties in London and allowed NAB Director General Zahir Shah to appear as a witness in the case. He has been summoned on April 23.

The NAB now plans to submit land registry, utility bills and tax statements concerning the properties as part of the case evidence to strengthen their case regarding Sharif family's ownership of the London flats.

Last week, NAB had claimed in a report that the PML-N government had shown reluctance to place the names of Nawaz Sharif and other members of his family on the Exit Control List (ECL) on the bureau's request.

NAB had asked the interior ministry to put on the ECL the names of Nawaz Sharif, his children — Maryam, Hassan and Hussain — and his son-in-law, retired Capt Muhammad Safdar.

All of them are being tried in accountability courts regarding references filed following the Supreme Court's orders in the Panamagate case.


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