Nawaz moves SC against ‘illegal’ filing of multiple NAB references

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the filing of multiple corruption references against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on orders of the apex court in the Panama Papers case judgement.

Filed by Advocate Muhammad Kassim Mir Jat on behalf of Sharif, the petition requests the court to order NAB to file a consolidated reference as the filing of three separate references is “illegal, and violative of law and the Constitution, besides being violative of his [Sharif’s] fundamental rights”.

The petition claims that the filing of multiple references against an accused for each asset allegedly owned by him, which is disproportionate to his known sources of income, is repugnant to section 9 (a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.

“The filing of multiple references against an accused for the same alleged offence exposes him to double punishment,” the petition reads.

Sharif in the petition has urged SC to declare its order of July 28, 2017 in the Panama Papers — in which NAB was directed to file three references against the PML-N head — per incuriam (lacking due regard for the law), as it is allegedly in violation of the Constitution.

It further requests the court to rule that an accused shall be tried through a single reference under section 9 (a)(v) of NAO, irrespective of the number of assets alleged to have been held by him.

The petition also urges the court to suspend proceedings in the NAB references being conducted in the accountability court in Islamabad until the Bureau files a consolidated reference against Sharif.

NAB references

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court on July 28 had directed NAB to file references against Nawaz and his children in six weeks in the accountability court and directed the trial court to decide the references within six months. The Supreme Court also assigned Justice Ijazul Ahsan a supervisory role to monitor the progress of the accountability court proceedings.

The former premier and his sons have been named in all three NAB references, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference.

No one from the Sharif family has so far been indicted in the references.

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