Sajjad Hussain

Pak court adjourns hearing in Sharif’s 2nd corruption case

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Islamabad, Jul 9 (PTI) An anti-graft court in Pakistan today adjourned the hearing in a corruption case against convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif after the defence lawyer urged the judge to recuse himself from the case.

Islamabad-based accountability court’s judge Muhammad Bashir, who gave 10 years of rigorous imprisonment to 68-year-old Sharif in the Avenfield apartment case last week, was hearing the Al Azizia steel mills corruption case against him.

Defence lawyer Khawaja Harris said that the judge should separate himself from the case as the evidence of the Al Azizia and Avenfield cases was similar.

The judge decided to refer the matter to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which has the authority to transfer cases to another court, and adjourned the hearing until July 12.

The same judge is also hearing the Flagship corruption case against Sharif and the same objection might be raised about it.

Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family in September last year following his disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28, 2017 in the Panama Papers case.

His two sons Hassan and Hussain are also co-accused in all the three cases but never appeared in the court and were declared as absconders.

On Friday, the accountability court sentenced Sharif to 10 years in jail for owning assets beyond income and one year for not cooperating with the anti-corruption authority, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The sentences will run concurrently which means the former prime minister will serve 10 years in jail.

Sharif’s 44-year-old daughter and co-accused Maryam was given seven years for abetment, and one year for non-cooperation with the NAB — also to run concurrently. Considered to be Sharif’s political heir, Maryam will serve seven years in total.

Sharif’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar was jailed for one year rigorous imprisonment for not cooperating with the NAB. He was arrested yesterday after he dramatically resurfaced in the garrison city of Rawalpindi to lead a rally of supporters.

The court also ordered confiscation of the four Avenfield apartments in London. The fine money will go into the state treasury.

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