The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave accountability court two months to complete the trial of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children. It granted the accountability court three months for the conclusion of case against ex-Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The apex court was assured that Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir will be given another extension before March 12. Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice Karamat Niazi informed a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar that another extension will be granted to Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir before 12th March.
He said that on 26th February he had received a letter from Chief Justice Islamabad High Court for extending AC Judge Muhammad Bashir's period. He said the summary of it had been sent to the Prime Minister for approval and hopefully an extension will be granted to Judge Muhammad Bashir before March 12. The Chief Justice in the light of secretary law's submission kept the matter pending and directed the SC office to list it on March 10 in Supreme Court, Lahore Registry.
A three-member special bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, which heard National Accountability Bureau (NAB) application granted more time for the conclusion of trials. In the Panama Papers Leaks judgment, the apex court had given six months to the Accountability Court for concluding trial against ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Safdar, sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz, and son-in-law Captain Muhammad Safdar (retd) and former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, which expired on March 6, 2018.
Justice Ejaz inquired from Additional Prosecutor General NAB Akbar Tarar about the time he would need to finish with the evidence. The APG replied two months will be required for conclusion of Nawaz Sharif and his children's trial, while three months for Ishaq Dar case. He said there is no delay on part the defence and the prosecution. Akbar Tarar informed that in first reference, there are 18 witnesses and out of them 11 have recorded their statements; in second reference, 14 out of 27 witnesses have recorded their statements; in third reference, 15 out of 18 witnesses have recorded statements; while in fourth reference, 28 out of 54 have recorded their statements.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan, another member of the bench, inquired from the additional prosecutor how Ishaq Dar was elected as senator when he has been declared absconder by the Accountability Court. Justice Ejaz said in normal circumstances a person who is declared absconder can't become senator. Akbar Tarar told the court that returning officer had rejected Ishaq Dar's nomination papers but his papers were restored in the appeal.