Sharifs’ corruption trial extended till November 17

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday extended till November 17 the deadline given to the accountability court to wrap up corruption cases against the Sharif family members.

The apex court’s deadline to conclude a corruption trial against the Sharifs had ended on October 7, after which an extension plea had been submitted to the court.

Granting the extension, the bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar also warned of strict consequences if the Flagship Investment and Al-Azizia corruption cases were not concluded during the given time-frame, the Express Tribune reported.

So far, six extensions to wrap up the corruption references initiated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have been granted by the apex court.

The trial against the Sharifs commenced on September 14, 2017 after Pakistan’s anti-corruption body filed cases relating to the Avenfield, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and offshore companies including Flagship Investment Limited on the Supreme Court’s directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict.

The accountability court announced its verdict on July 6 in the Avenfield reference, related to the Sharif family’s ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London.

It handed a 10-year jail term to Nawaz Sharif, seven years to his daughter Maryam Nawaz for abetment and one year to his son-in-law Muhammad Safdar Awan.

However, the Islamabad High Court in September suspended their prison sentences and ordered their release.

Sharif and his sons — Hussain and Hasan — were accused in all three references whereas his daughter and her husband were accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.