Court to announce verdict in Flagship Investments and Al-Azizia references on 24 Dec

Islamabad Politics Report/Moazzam Raza Tabassam:  In the Flagship Investments and Al-Azizia references ,the verdict against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be announced on December 24.

The accountability court reserved its verdict in the two references on Wednesday.

Nawaz Sharif’s legal representative Khawaja Haris requested Accountability Judge Arshad Malik for further time to submit more documents over the case.

However, Haris’ request was rejected by the judge who said that further documents could be still be submitted by December 24.

While speaking to reporters outside the court, Nawaz Sharif said that “not a penny of corruption has been proven against me”.

“I am very happy that I have done my duty, and I think that since I have stepped in politics I have never indulged in corruption nor have misused my power,” the former premier added.

“This was my 78th appearance in this case and in the one before we had appeared 87 times. This was a very painful [experience].”

“I have been serving the people for 35 years. I have been the chief minister twice and the prime minister thrice. I am very happy that I have done my duty, and I think that since I have stepped in politics I have never indulged in corruption nor have I ever misused my powers,” Nawaz elaborated.

“[We] eliminated terrorism, inflation from the country, revived the economy, made Pakistan a nuclear power.”

“Is this [what I deserve] for serving this country?” he asked.

He also expressed appreciation for the manner in which media had covered the case and “conveying the facts to the nation”.

On Tuesday, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor had concluded his final arguments in the Flagship Investment corruption reference, a day after Haris closed his arguments in the case.

Judge Arshad Malik had directed the parties to give additional arguments on the Supreme Court’s decision in the Panama Papers case until 1 pm on Wednesday

On December 7, the SC had directed the accountability court hearing the remaining two corruption references against the Sharif family to conclude the cases by December 24.

Earlier, seven extensions to wrap up the corruption references initiated by NAB were granted by the apex court.

The Supreme Court had initially set a six-month deadline to conclude the four corruption references against the Sharif family.

The trial against the Sharif family commenced on September 14, 2017.

On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court had announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.

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.

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