Supreme Court once again rejects Nawaz Sharif's plea to merge corruption cases

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar once again rejected former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea to club the three corruption cases against him into one.

Nawaz, disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28 last year in the Panama Papers case, had filed a petition in the apex court seeking to merge the three National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references against him.

That petition had been rejected by the Supreme Court registrar, after which Nawaz filed an appeal before the chief justice.

Hearing the appeal in his chamber today, Chief Justice Nisar rejected the plea.

Nawaz had first petitioned the apex court with the request on October 13. However, the registrar had rejected the petition, after which an appeal was filed with the chief justice.
Chief Justice Nisar, in an in-camera hearing on November 16, had dismissed the appeal.

On Dec 2, Nawaz petitioned the Supreme Court to again consider the clubbing of the three references.

The petition appealed to the apex court to consider the objections raised by the registrar and create a new bench to hear the petition.
It had stated that if a verdict is challenged, then the court has to restart proceedings on the matter and pleaded the court to consider void its ruling on clubbing the references.

NAB references

In light of the Supreme Court’s verdict, NAB filed three corruption references — Al Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, Avenfield properties, and offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd — against Nawaz and his family in the accountability court.
The accountability court on November 8 had again dismissed Nawaz’s plea seeking the clubbing of three references into one, which was later challenged in the Islamabad High Court.
However, the appeal was dismissed by the high court as well.

The petition

Nawaz’s petition, submitted in October last year, pleaded the Supreme Court to halt the accountability court proceedings of the three references against the Sharif family until a single reference is filed.
The plea was filed by Nawaz’s legal team under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution.
It stated that Section 9 (a) (5) of the National Accountability Ordinance holds that the reference against possession of assets beyond known sources of income should be one and not spread over several references.
The petition pleaded that the Supreme Court’s July 28 direction to the NAB to file three corruption references be declared illegal.
The petition added that holding of several trials based on one allegation is against the basic rights of the petitioners.