LAHORE, April 9: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial has referred the petitions filed by the Ittefaq Foundries to a referee judge after a dissenting order was passed by a division bench seized with the matter.

Justice Khwaja Imtiaz Ahmad and Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan heard three petitions at the Rawalpindi bench titled “Ittefaq Foundries Limited etc, Hudaibiya Papers etc and Shamim Akhtar etc versus the Federation of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Accountability Court Judge, Rawalpindi”.

The bench differed on the point whether there was any necessity or requirement to give observations that NAB authorities were competent to proceed against the petitioners if investigation was initiated again.

The matter was referred to the chief justice by the senior judge who nominated Justice Sheikh Najamul Hasan to decide the query, said a statement issued by the LHC spokesman.

Advocate Akram Sheikh represented the petitioners.

APP adds: Justice Farrukh appended a note that NAB authorities were competent to proceed against the petitioners if the investigation was again initiated according to law.

The National Accountability Bureau had prepared the corruption references during the Musharraf regime in the year 2000 when the Sharif brothers were detained in the Attock Fort.

On April 4, 2001, the references were adjourned sine die.

On Aug 8, 2007, NAB filed an application for revival of the references. But the court did not proceed with the matter and the same was again adjourned sine die in August 2008 because it was not routed through the NAB chairman.

Another application filed by the National Accountability Bureau in February 2010 was rejected on the same grounds.

In its references, NAB accused the Sharifs of committing Rs642.7million worth of corruption in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills.

The second reference — the state versus Nawaz Sharif, etc — relates to the Raiwind assets.

The main allegation is that the Sharifs had acquired vast tracts of land upon which palatial houses and mansions were built with resources which appeared to be grossly disproportionate to their known sources of income.

Apart from Mr Nawaz Sharif, his mother is an accused in this case.

In the state versus Ittefaq Foundries case, Mr Nawaz Sharif, Abbas Sharif and Kamal Qureshi are accused of committing corruption worth Rs1,063m.

The main allegation in the case is that Ittefaq Foundries had obtained cash finance from the National Bank of Pakistan.