By Muhammad Luqman
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has submitted four interim references against the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar before the accountability court.
Amid tight security, cartons full of documents from the NAB regional offices were ushered into the Islamabad Accountability Court amid much media hype as the Supreme Court’s deadline expired on Friday.
NAB Spokesperson Nawazish Ali said that all the references have been accepted for trial and nothing has been sent back.
Three of the references are against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar and sons Hussain and Hasan while another is against Dar.
If convicted, the accused can face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.
The prosecution team of the NAB reached the court in Sector F-11 along with the documents to submit the references with the registrar of Judge Mohammad Bashir.
The other judge of the accountability court — Nisar Baig — has been transferred to Lahore after completion of his term.
It may take two to three days to peruse the references as they contain several pages, according to media reports.
NAB has attached with the references the nine volumes of the Panama case Joint Investigation Team’s final report as well.
The references were filed in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 decision in the Panama Papers case. The bureau was given six weeks, from the date of the court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.
Sharif family and Dar can face up to 14 years imprisonment, heavy fines, and freezing of property if the accountability court rules that a violation of Section 9 of the NAB Ordinance 1999 has taken place as suggested in the report of the Panama Papers case Joint Investigation Team. Moreover, the accused may also be disqualified from holding public office for life if found guilty.
NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family. The bureau’s Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.
Sources said NAB has decided not to file the Hudaibia Paper Mills case as the apex court’s order regarding it is unclear and has sought legal assistance over the matter.