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Sharif, kin appear before accountability court
By Tariq Butt January 04, 2018
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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar appeared before an accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday as the hearing into three references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the Supreme Court direction resumed.

Strict security arrangements were made in the areas surrounding the court ahead of Sharif’s appearance.

The prosecution presented two more witnesses before accountability judge Mohammad Bashir.

While recording his testimony in the court, Tasneem Khan, an officer at Inland Revenue of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), presented the income and wealth tax records of Sharif and his children.

The witnesses only presented the record relating to the Sharifs. The ex-premier’s lead lawyer, Khawaja Haris, crossed-examined them. The hearing was adjourned till Jan.9. It was the 11th appearance of Sharif in the court.

The references are related to London properties and two companies owned by Sharif’s sons.

The NAB nominated Shairf’s children Hassan, Hussain and Maryam and Safdar as accused in references. The former prime minister returned from Saudi Arabia Tuesday night.

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court on July 28 had directed the NAB to file references against Sharif and his children in six weeks in the accountability court and directed it to decide them within six months.

The apex court also assigned Justice Ijazul Ahsan a supervisory role to monitor the progress of the accountability court proceedings.

Hassan and Hussain, who are British nationals, have not appeared before the accountability even once and have been declared absconders.

Sharif warned of presenting “all the evidence before the nation if behind-the-scenes activities were not stopped against him and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to reduce its prospective performance in the upcoming general elections.

“Once again path is being cleared for a ladla (favourite),” he said at a press conference in an obvious reference to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan but didn’t speak of the forces he thought are trying to win favours him.

He called for level-playing field for all the political parties in the forthcoming parliamentary polls.

Sharif said Pakistan was dismembered by not accepting the election results in the 1970 and efforts were made to manipulate the polls results later. “Pakistan was dismembered due to self-deception. We have to get rid of the ghost of self-deception,” he said adding that Pakistan’s fate was linked to transparent, fair and free elections.

He said the obsolete ideas diverting public opinion are once again being applied. He said doubts were cast on his patriotism through different controversies including DawnLeaks .

The ex-premier said a non-serious tweet from US President Donald Trump is regrettable”. “We are fighting a war for 17 years that is not ours,” he said adding that the US president should have kept diplomatic norms into consideration before sending out the tweet against Pakistan. He said Pakistan paid the highest price after the 9/11 attacks.

Sharif asserted that the PML-N government does not care for United States threats to cut funding to Islamabad in the war against terrorism.

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