ISLAMABAD: An anti-graft court in Pakistan today rejected a plea of the anti-corruption watchdog to include the report of Panama Papers Joint Investigation Team as a part of the Avenfield case record, in which ousted premier Nawaz Sharif and his family members are accused.
In its July 28, 2017 ruling in the Panama Papers case, the Supreme Court had given the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) six months to complete its proceedings on the corruption cases against members of the Sharif family.
Acting on the apex court's order, NAB had initially filed four cases against the Sharifs and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.
Three cases were registered on September 8 against Sharif, 68, and his family and one case against Dar.
The request was made by Additional Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and JIT head, Wajid Zia, who also appeared before the court to record his statement against Sharifs during a hearing.
The former prime minister, along with his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar, appeared before Judge Muhammad Bashir but he was allowed to leave early due to his bad health.
Zia recorded his statement as the NAB's main persecution witness, and with his testimony, the Avenfield flats case, on Sharif's properties in London, has entered in the final phase.
Maryam and Safdar are co-accused in the case and were present during testimony.
It was for the second time in two days that the former prime minister was allowed to leave early during the hearing for not being well.
Apart from Sharif, his two sons -- Hassan and Hussain --are also accused in three cases which include the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, Flagship Investment Ltd and Avenfield properties of London.
Maryam and Safdar are co-accused only in Avenfield case and are facing trial along with Sharif, but his sons never appeared in the court and were declared absconders.
The court also observed that their trial would be held separately.
Meanwhile, the government today gave an extension of three years to Justice Bashir.
President Mamnoon Hussain approved extension in the judge's tenure, a day after the government assured the Supreme Court that the tenure of Justice Bashir would be extended.
The judge was appointed in 2012 and the government on the suggestion of the Islamabad High Court extended his tenure for three years in 2015.
He was to retire on March 13.
Yesterday, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court gave two more months to the accountability court to conclude its hearing in cases against Sharif and three month to wrap up cases against Dar.
The initial six-month deadline given by the apex court was to expire on March 13.