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167504_3476754_updates.jpgHussain (left) and Hasan Nawaz. Photo: File 

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family is proceeding today with the process of declaring Hussain and Hasan Nawaz proclaimed offenders. 

The two sons of the former premier have not appeared in a single hearing of the three corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). 

The brothers, who reside outside Pakistan, are accused in all three references ordered by the Supreme Court in its July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case: Avenfield properties, Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and Flagship Investment Ltd.

As the hearing began today, the NAB team asked for a short recess as its chief prosecutor is en route from Lahore.

Judge Mohammad Bashir then allowed a short recess. 

Last week, the thirty-day deadline given to Hussain and Hasan to appear before the accountability court hearing corruption cases against them expired.

With the expiry of the deadline, the court will officially declare the two proclaimed offenders as a result of which the properties of the scions of Nawaz family may be seized at any given time.

At a hearing of the references on October 9, Judge Mohammad Bashir had accepted NAB's plea to declare Hussain and Hasan proclaimed offenders and separated their proceedings in the three references filed against them.

Their non-bailable arrest warrants, issued at the last hearing on October 2, remain in effect.

Earlier, the judge had directed for initiating the process of declaring them proclaimed offenders.

This involved publication of notices in newspapers directing the accused to appear in court. Failure to do so would result in seizure of property and issuance of further warrants.

On October 12, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) posted the court's proclamation order on the main gate of the Sharif family's residences in Jati Umra and Model Town, Lahore.

NAB Rawalpindi said the action was taken in light of the accountability court's directions for the initiation of the process to declare them proclaimed offenders, as they failed to show up in the court's last hearing.

Later, the court ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to freeze the assets of Hasan and Hussain.

As the hearing against the brothers, whose trial in the high-profile corruption case has been separated from other family members' owing to their continued absence, went under way, the NAB submitted a report detailing assets owned by Nawaz's sons in Pakistan.

NAB said in its report that according to the SECP, Hasan and Hussain own shares in six companies.

The court then directed the SECP to freeze their shares and ordered both accused to appear in court by November 8, which they failed to do.


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