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NAB Chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari. — Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, Admiral (retd), has requested an accountability court to reopen pending cases against PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif.

“On the recommendation of a special committee, the NAB chairman has signed an application requesting the accountability court to reopen three references against the Sharif brothers to contest quashment petition which was filed by the Sharifs in the Lahore High Court in October 2011,” NAB spokesman Zafar Iqbal told Dawn on Friday.

The three cases are Hudaibiya Paper Mills, Assets Beyond Known Sources of Income and the Ittefaq Foundry (Wilful Loan Default).

Proceedings in the cases were adjourned sine die by the accountability court in 2001 when the brothers were in exile. After their return to the country, NAB filed an application in 2007 reopening the cases. The application was accepted but in 2010 the cases were adjourned sine die by the accountability court which directed that the trial could be commenced if an application signed by NAB’s chairman was submitted before the court.

The incumbent NAB chairman constituted a special committee to revisit all cases pending against politicians.

“The committee recommended filing of an application under the signature of the chairman for recommencement of these cases,” the spokesman said.

He said the special committee was in the process of scrutinising the remaining cases against politicians and its findings/recommendations would be shared with the media.  Prime Minister’s Adviser on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik had also referred, in his capacity as interior minister, a case against the Sharif brothers to NAB two months ago.

Sources said a team of investigators comprising 15 officials had been formed to investigate cases relating to Rental Power Projects (RPPs), Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steel Mills and against the Sharif brothers.

When contacted, Punjab government’s spokesman Pervez Rashid said that NAB had so far not informed his party about the matter.

“If we receive any such notice, we will look into it and decide what to do,” he said. He said the cases had already been investigated three times in the past — first by the Pakistan People’s Party government in 1988 and again by the PPP government in 1993 and the third time by former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

He said that NAB had already been accused of having become a tool at the hands of rulers for twisting the arms of opposition leaders and its action against PML-N leaders would invite further criticism. During a recent meeting with senior media personnel, the NAB chairman had said that President Asif Ali Zardari had stopped him from reopening cases against the Sharif brothers.