ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has formed a three member bench to hear the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference against Sharif family.
The bench has been constituted on the appeal of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of the 5-member bench of Apex court verdict in Panama case.
According to sources, the bench will be headed by Justice Asif Khosa, who was also part of the Panama Leaks proceedings against the ex-premier, while other members include Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel.
The hearing on the appeal will be conducted on November 13 for which Prosecutor General has also been sent notice. On September 20, NAB filed a petition in Supreme Court (SC) against Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict to close the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case as Sharifs were cleared in this and Raiwind Assets references. Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rasheed had submitted a petition in SC, stating that on July 21, amid hearing of the Panama Papers case, NAB had assured the court to submit reply in seven days on Hudaibiya case but it failed to do so within the mentioned time.
The Hudaibiya Paper Mills is basically about money laundering of Sharif family during 1990s.
The reference was afterwards dismissed by LHC on March 11, 2014 in response to a writ petition filed in 2011, stating that Dar was pressurized to record the statement.
Based on the recommendation, the SC in its July 28 verdict in the Panamagate case had asked the Bureau to reopen the case while it filed references in other cases. It had also questioned the role of NAB, which had seemingly favoured the Sharifs in the Hudaibya Paper Mills case by not challenging LHC’s decision to quash it.
The 2000 Hudaibiya Paper Mills money laundering reference was initiated on the basis of an April 25, 2000 confession statement from finance minister, Ishaq Dar, wherein he admitted to his role in laundering money to the tune of $14.86 million on behalf of the Sharifs through fictitious accounts. The witness was, however, pardoned by the then NAB chairman.
While Mian Nawaz Sharif was not named in the interim reference filed in March 2000, in the final reference against the Hudaibya Paper Mills, approved by then chairman NAB Khalid Maqbool, the bureau had accused Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Shamim Akhtar, Sabiha Abbas and Maryam Nawaz.