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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), on Tuesday, disposed of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s application for early hearing of appeals against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in corruption references.

A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kayani heard the NAB’s petition for early hearing of Sharif family’s appeals in Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Flagship Investment, and Avenfiled property.

A NAB official informed the bench that Special Prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana has tested Covid-19 positive, while Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzafar Abbasi also has symptoms of the pandemic virus.

He said, therefore, both of them could not appear before the court in view of the current circumstance.

Subsequently, the court disposed of the NAB’s plea for early fixation of appeals, and instructed the registrar office to fix the appeals as per the IHC policy regarding Covid-19.

At the outset of the hearing, the IHC registrar office produced report regarding the policy for fixation of cases in wake of third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

The IHC registrar on April 12, 2021, issued a notification in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the federal capital. According to it, till May 16 only important cases including pre-arrest and post-arrest bails, habeas corpus petitions or detention matters, urgent petitions seeking stay orders, and any matter of genuine urgency, will be taken up.

Total six appeals are pending before the IHC regarding the matter, which were filed by the NAB, Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and Captain Muhammad Safdar (retired).

The special prosecutor NAB had submitted an application under Section 151 CPC for early hearing of appeals against Nawaz Sharif in Al Azizia and Avenfield cases.

The NAB stated in its application that the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) ordained that the matters falling within the purview of enactment are to be expeditiously disposed of and decided.

It added, “In this context, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has very recently directed that the number of Accountability Courts be enhanced and also issued specific directions for early adjudication and decision of the matters.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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