ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court-II on Thursday granted exemption to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from personal appearance in the Al-Azizia reference.
Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar are currently in Lahore on parole for the funeral of Nawaz’s wife, Kulsoom Nawaz.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing until September 17 after deposed premier’s counsel Khawaja Haris cross-examined prosecution’s star witness and Panamagate JIT head Wajid Zia.
Judge Arshad Malik of the NAB court was presiding over the case.
Earlier, Haris submitted an application of exemption on behalf of Nawaz Sharif which the court accepted.
During the hearing, Haris questioned Zia whether the Volume 10 of JIT was sealed when submitted to the Supreme Court. Upon this, JIT head replied in negative.
The deposed prime minister was also given exemption from hearing on Wednesday.
In September 2017, the trial against the Sharif family commenced. On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
An accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Additionally, Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
On July 10, the Supreme Court granted another six-week extension for Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir to conclude the remaining corruption references against Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.
On September 1, NAB challenged an IHC judgment, allowing two of its references against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to be transferred to another accountability court.
NAB had filed three references against members of the Sharif family in line with the Supreme Court’s order of July 28 last year.