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Pak SC grants one-month extension for ex-PM Sharif's trial in graft cases
 
(Islamabad, May 10, 2018): Pakistan's Supreme Court today granted a one-month extension to the deadline for completion of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's trial in three corruption cases.

The cases were launched in September last year following disqualification of Sharif by the Supreme Court on July 28. The court had also set six month deadline to complete the cases but later extended it by two months in March.


The deadline was set to expire on May 12 and the accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir requested the apex court to give more time to conclude the trial.


Sharif's counsel Khawaja Haris in his application asked for three month extension but the court after hearing arguments decided to extend the deadline till June 9.

The three cases include Avenfiled Properties, Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship reference cases. The trial in all cases is near completion.

Sharif is facing the three corruption cases at the accountability court following the Supreme Court's verdict in the Panama Papers case. An NAB inquiry is also under way against him for alleged illegal expansion of a road leading to his estate in Lahore's Jati Umra locality.

Once formulated, this will be the fifth case against the ousted premier by the NAB.

Yesterday, the accountability court sought more time from the top court to end the trial on references filed by the NAB against members of the Sharif family.

Accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir, who presides over the hearings, had written a letter to the top court requesting for a second extension in the trial.

Earlier in March, the Supreme Court had granted a two-month extension to the accountability court to wrap the proceedings.

However, the trial is nowhere near its end, with the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments cases still untouched, the country's top anti-graft body is running out of time.

The Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif last year, forcing the three-time prime minister to resign. Sharif has dismissed the corruption charges as politically motivated.

The political future of Sharif, who leads the country's most powerful political family and his PML-N party, has been hanging in the balance since then. If convicted, he could be jailed.


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