Accountability Court adjourned hearing of Al-Azizia corruption reference until July 30

The accountability court on Wednesday adjourned trial proceedings in the Al-Azizia corruption reference against the Sharif family until July 30 after former premier Nawaz Sharif’s counsel informed Judge Mohammad Bashir that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had admitted petitions seeking transfer of the references from Bashir’s court.

An IHC division bench on Tuesday issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Nawaz’s petitions seeking the transfer of the Al-Azizia and Flagship references from the court of Judge Bashir to another accountability court. The IHC will hear the petition on July 30.

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Nawaz’s lawyer Khawaja Haris today maintained that it was not appropriate for Judge Bashir to hear the other two references after he had already made a conclusive decision in the Avenfield reference on the basis of evidence which is common to all three references.

Judge Bashir replied that he had written to the IHC seeking to recuse himself from the case and was waiting for their reply and reminded Haris that the defense counsel had also filed a petition for the transfer of the references to another court.

Haris responded that since the IHC bench had decided to seek assistance from NAB, the court could not pass an order as no one from the prosecution was present inside the courtroom. He also expressed surprise at the fact that the prosecutors had not bothered to attend the first hearing of the petition.

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