Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir gets three-year extension

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Last month, the Pakistan Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif from the post of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party chief, saying all the decisions made by him as head of the party stand null and void. The court had ordered proceedings against Dar with the same deadline.

The NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi argued that the witness prepared the investigation report as per the Supreme Court's directions, but defence counsel Amjad Parviz argued that a report can not be held as evidence.

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 have been declared absconders.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that the lower court judge did not inform them of the time needed to complete the proceedings.

The federal government extended on Thursday tenure of District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Bashir as accountability court judge for a period of three years with immediate effect.

The law secretary, a day earlier, had informed the Supreme Court that the term of Judge Bashir will be extended before its expiry.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice, Judge Muhammad Bashir will now retire on March 12, 2021.

Acting on the apex court's order, the NAB had initially filed four cases against the Sharifs and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

During hearing the legal counsel of the accused, Naeem Mehmood and Mansoor Rizvi, argued before the judge that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had provided their clients with a 700-page-long reference, many pages of which are unclear.

The cases pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd and London's Avenfield properties.

The two brothers, based overseas, have been absconding since the proceedings began previous year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.

The assurance came after the apex court took notice of the government's failure to extend the judge's tenure.

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