|Nawaz, Maryam leave for London while court holds hearing into corruption references|
An accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday morning began conducting a hearing into three corruption references filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his close relatives by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir is conducting the hearing, which is currently underway.
Malik Tayyab, a prosecution witness associated with Standard Chartered Bank, is currently presenting his statement against the ousted prime minister, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Muhammad Safdar.
The witness has provided details of cheques issued to Maryam and others from the former premier's bank account.
Tayyab has told the court that on 13 June 2015, a cheque worth Rs12 million was issued to Maryam. Another cheque worth Rs28.8m was issued to her later that year, on 15 November.
On 14 August 2016, Nawaz issued a cheque worth Rs19.5m to his daughter, the witness has told the court.
Advocate Khawaja Harris, the counsel representing Nawaz, is present in the court today as is Advocate Amjad Pervez Bhatti who represents the former premier's children.
The former premier's son-in-law, who is present in court, has put forward a request to be exempted from appearing before the court for 15 days. In his absence, Safdar will be represented by Advocate Faisal Irfan.
The judge is expected to rule on the request later today.
Nawaz, Maryam off to London
The ousted prime minister and his daughter departed for London from Lahore airport on Tuesday morning after the former was granted a week-long exemption from appearing in court from Dec 5 to Dec 11 during yesterday's hearing.
On Monday, Maryam had, too, put forward a request for exemption from appearance before the court but it was rejected. The court had noted that she had already received such an exemption earlier from Nov 15 to Dec 15, which was still intact.
Nawaz will remain in London for five days. His wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, has been undergoing medical treatment in the British capital for some time now.
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.
NAB had filed three references on Sept 8 against Sharif and his family, and another reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.
The former premier and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all three NAB references, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference..