The top court has given a month to the accountability court to conclude trial in three corruption references filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau.
During the hearing of an application seeking third extension for concluding trials against the Sharif family, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar rejected the plea filed by deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel to complete the trial in six weeks, instead asked the accountability court to conclude trial in all three references within one month by fixing daily hearings including on Saturdays.
The apex court also granted permission to Nawaz and daughter Maryam Nawaz to visit ailing Kulsoom Nawaz – who is currently undergoing cancer treatment in London.
A special bench – comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan – is set to hear the application filed by Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir after the deadline for concluding proceedings in the graft references lapsed on Saturday.
This is the third extension granted to the accountability court by the SC. In March, the top court had granted a two-month extension to wrap up the proceedings, when the references could not be completed in the stipulated time, a further one month was given to decide the references. However, the trial could not be concluded despite marathon day-to-day hearings.
On Monday, the accountability court is set to witness cross-examination of the NAB’s key witness, Wajid Zia, in Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment reference.
The accountability court fixed Avenfield reference for Tuesday after NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi concluded his arguments on Friday. Defence counsel Khawaja Haris and Amjad Pervaiz are now expected to present final arguments in the Avenfield reference.
Once the statements are recorded, defence counsel Khawaja Haris would cross-examine the witnesses. Subsequently, the accused standing trial would record statement in the references and produce witness in defence, if needed, and after that the NAB and defence counsel would present arguments in the cases.
Following the arguments, both the parties would give rebuttal and then the court is expected to reserve verdict or go for pronouncement of judgment.