IHC issues notices on Nawaz’s plea challenging accountability court order

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 14 (APP)::The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Judge Accountability Court in a plea moved by former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif challenging the trial court’s decision of not merging three references being heard by the latter against him.
A two-member IHC bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued the
pre-admission notices to the respondents seeking their reply in an appeal moved by the former prime minister through his legal team headed by Khawaja Haris Ahmed, comprising Azam Nazir Tarrar, Saad M Hashmi and Zaafir Khan Tareen to set aside the Accountability Court’s order of November 8.
During the course of proceedings, the petitioner’s counsel Azam Nazir Tarrar argued that the Accountability
Court had passed the order in a hurry and without waiting for the detailed judgment of the august court in that connection. He argued that the decision was against the fundamental right of his client and urged the high court to direct the Accountability Court to frame a joint charge in accordance with Section 17 (d) of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.
Tarrar also requested the court to suspend proceedings before the Accountability Court Islamabad till framing of the joint charge against the petitioner.
The court asked as to why the petitioner had moved the IHC when an identical petition was being heard by the Supreme Court. The counsel replied that in the Supreme Court his client had taken sought relief of filing only one reference against him on all charges whereas in the IHC he had challenged the trial court’s order of November 8.
He contented that the Accountability Court had dismissed the application of his client for framing a joint charge sheet in three references which was violation of his fundamental rights as provided under Articles 4, 9, 10-A and 25
of the Constitution.
All the three references were supplemented by the same nine-volume report of the Joint Investigation Team
(JIT) while two witnesses were common in all the three references (18/2017, 19/2017 and 20/2017) while six witnesses were common in Reference No 18/2017 and Reference No 19/2017, he added.
Tarrar said the allegations as per the investigation reports framing the basis of the references were substantially same like that of the petitioner’s defence .
Under such circumstances, he added, a joint charge should be framed against the petitioner on the basis of allegations made in each reference. His client could only be tried once on the basis of the said allegations, the
counsel said.
Tarrar claimed that the impugned order had been passed by the Accountability Court in haste and without adverting to law and was liable to be set aside.
He apprised the court that since six witnesses out of total nine were same in Azizia Steel Mills reference and Flagship Investment Ltd reference the trial court should club the two.
He requested the high court to direct the accountability court to decide the matter afresh in line with
Section 17-D of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) and applicable laws.
He alleged that order of the accountability court order was based on gross misreading, non-reading of facts and misconstruction of law on which it was purportedly based.
Subsequently the bench rejected the plea to suspend proceedings before the Accountability Court Islamabad till framing of joint charge against the petitioner, however issued notices to respondents seeking their reply and adjourned further hearing till November 20 (Monday).
Last week, an accountability court rejected an application filed by Nawaz Sharif to have three references filed by NAB against him and his family, merged into one. The former prime minister was indicted separately in each of the three references. He pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all the charges.