JUL 14, 2018: The trial against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family pertaining to two other corruption references will take place in Adiala Jail, according to a notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice late Friday evening.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (b) of section 16 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (XVIII of 1999), the federal government is please to specify the Central Jail Adiala, Rawalpindi, to be the place where the Accountability Court-I, Islamabad shall sit for trial of References No. 18/2017 and 19/2017 against Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others,” the notification read.
On July 6, an accountability court convicted Nawaz, his daughter Maryam Safdar and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield properties reference, jailing them to various terms and imposing heavy fines on them.
The former PM was found guilty of owning assets beyond known income, while his daughter was convicted for aiding and abetting her father in covering up a “conspiracy” to conceal assets obtained beyond known means.
The court also ordered takeover of the Avenfield apartments in London — the posh multi-million dollar apartments Sharifs own since the 1990s.
Though the Sharif family insisted that they had purchased the apartments through ‘legitimate’ financial resources they remained unable to disclose those resources before the accountability court or the Supreme Court, according to Dawn.
The verdict and the duo’s arrest on Friday deal a serious blow to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party’s bid weeks ahead of the July 25 countrywide polls and two remaining trials expected to make the atmosphere fairly charged and polarized across existing faultlines, several independent observers say.
The remaining “white collar crime” cases to be heard within the jail premises — unless appeal is filed and accepted by a higher court in days ahead — relate to Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and offshore companies, including Flagship Investment Limited. These outfits were established and operated by the Sharifs during the time the former PM and his family lived on a 8-year-exile in the Saudi Kingdom as part of a composite deal with the then government (2000-2008) — former army chief Pervez Musharraf had deposed then PM Sharif in a bloodless coup in October 1999.
NAB insists the Sharifs provide paper-trial, backup and evidences relating to investments, incomes, revenues/profits/losses disbursements, etc. beyond reasonable doubt and as per generally accepted accounting principles.
Sharif’s sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been absconding and were declared ‘proclaimed offenders’ in the cases by anti-corruption watchdog NAB.
Nawaz and his sons, were accused in all three references whereas Maryam and spouse 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.
Nawaz and Maryam were arrested by NAB officials upon their arrival in Lahore on Friday night and subsequently taken to Islamabad in a special flight, after which the two were taken to the Adiala Jail in separate armoured personnel carriers escorted by police convoys.