Accountability court to resume hearing Al-Azizia, Flagship references today

An accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday will resume hearings of two remaining corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
Accountability court II Judge Arshad Malik will hear the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references.
The judge has summoned former premier Nawaz Sharif, prosecution’s star witness Wajid Zia and investigation officer of the cases at the hearing today.
The incarcerated premier and Zia also appeared before the court during the last hearing on August 13.
Both the references were heard simultaneously during the last hearing and Zia was cross-examined in the Al-Azizia reference. The head of the Panamagate joint investigation team has yet to record his statement in the Flagship Investment reference.
Nawaz’s counsel, Zafir Khan, had submitted an application in the court to get Zia’s statement recorded in the Flagship reference. However, the prosecution opposed the plea and insisted that the cross-examination of Zia should be completed in the Al-Azizia reference first before recording the statement in the second reference.
The judge rejected the plea and deferred the hearing of the two references till today.
On August 7, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) transferred the two references to Accountability Court II.
A two-member bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, ordered the transfer of the cases on Nawaz’s plea.
Nawaz’s legal counsel had filed an appeal requesting the court to transfer the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references from the court of Accountability Judge-I Mohammad Bashir to another accountability court.
On July 6, accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir had announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handing the ousted prime minister 10 years as jail time and seven years to his daughter Maryam Nawaz.
The trial
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 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.
On July 10, the Supreme Court granted another six-week extension for Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir to conclude the remaining corruption references against Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.