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Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad Ahead of Accountability Court’s Verdict in NAB Cases

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in the federal capital a day ahead of the accountability’s court verdict in the two NAB references against him.

The Islamabad’s Accountability Court Number-II is set to pronounce its verdict in the Al Azizia and Flagship Investment references reserved on 19th of this month.

The references were filed in September 2017 by the National Accountability Bureau as per the Supreme Court directives in the Panama Leak case.

After reaching Islamabad, Nawaz met his younger brother and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif at Ministers’ Enclave, which has been declared sub-jail. Shahbaz has been in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with investigations in Ashiyana housing scam since October 5.

Read More: Accountability Court Reserves Verdict in NAB References Against Nawaz Sharif

Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik is expected to deliver the judgement in both the references on Monday between 9am-10am. Security around the Judicial Complex in Islamabad has been tightened ahead of tomorrow’s verdict, which will decide the fate of the former prime minister.

In July this year, accountability court’s judge Mohammad Bashir sentenced Nawaz, his daughter Maryam, and son-in-law Capt Mohammad Safdar (retd) to prison for varied terms in the Avenfield Properties. Nawaz was jailed for 10 years, Maryam for seven years and Capt (retd) Safder one year.

But on Sept 19, the Islamabad High Court granted them bail after suspending the sentence. NAB’s appeal against the suspension of the sentence remains pending before the Supreme Court.

As per the prosecution, Mian Mohammad Sharif [father of the former prime minister] passed away in 2004 and before the apex court, the Sharif family had taken the plea that while the family was in exile, the late Mian Sharif provided AED 5.4 million for Hussain Nawaz and AED 4.2m for Hasan Nawaz to establish Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment in Saudi Arabia, and Flagship Investment and 16 other companies in the UK.

According to the prosecution, the Sharif family had failed to justify the source of these sums and therefore, this was a case of owning assets beyond means.

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The Sharif family took the stance that it was out of AED 12m that the late Mian Sharif invested with the Qatari royal family, the prosecutor said, adding that Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani had never appeared before the joint investigation team to verify the details.

During final arguments, the defence attorney maintained that the joint investigation team had made no serious effort to record the prince’s testimony since this would have benefitted the case defence. The latter counsel has taken the plea that the late Mian Sharif established Gulf Steel Mills in the UAE in 1974, that 75 per cent shares of GSM were sold to Abdullah Kayed Ahli and the entity was re-named Ahli Steel Mills (ASM) in 1978, and the remaining 25pc shares were further sold to the ASM in 1980; this amount of AED 12m was invested with the Qatari royal family.