Nawaz accuses courts of 'double standard' as corruption trial begins

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif

The court had also summoned two of prosecution witnesses named Sidra Mansoor of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and Jahangir Ahmad of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to record their statements in three references.

Sharif along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Muhammad Safdar left the court hours before the judge announced the verdict.

Nawaz Sharif stated that he has to look after his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz in London; therefore, he should be granted the leniency for one week. She added that her legal representative, Jahangir Jadoon, will appear in the court in case she has to go overseas.

Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir is expected to rule on both these applications within a day.

Four witnesses have been summoned for the next hearing.

She added that she provided NAB with the 2000-2005 audit report of Hudabiya Paper Mills.

The case was adjourned till November 22.

Earlier, the court had issued perpetual warrants for Mr Hussain and Hassan Nawaz's arrest and separated their trial from other members of the family.

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As the accountability court on Wednesday formally initiated trial proceedings against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law MNA Capt (r) Safdar in three graft references filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), it approved the plea of Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz seeking exemption from personal appearance during court hearings. He hoped that their struggle would lead to logical conclusion.

On November 8, the accountability court rejected Nawaz Sharif's plea of clubbing all three references into one.

According to Geo News, the former prime minister criticized the courts when a journalist asked him to comment on relief Imran Khan got in cases against him.

To a question, he hoped the trial would be fair.

It was the 12th hearing of Avenfield properties and Azizia Steel Mills references and 13th hearing of the Flagship Investment reference.

The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court's order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.

The former premier's family has time and again rejected the allegations and told the court "all corruption charges are based on lies". The judge also provided a copy of the reference - spread over 53 volumes - to Maryam and Safdar.

The April 2016 Panama Papers revealed that three of Sharif's children owned offshore assets not shown on his family's wealth statement, including luxury apartments in London.

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