Nawaz accuses courts of 'double standard' as corruption trial begins

Pakistan’s ex-PM Sharif's sons declared absconders

Sharif along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Muhammad Safdar left the court hours before the judge announced the verdict.

During the hearing, Nawaz Sharif also submitted two pleas to the court.

The court officially began hearing of the NAB references today to record statements from witnesses including Securities and Exchange Commission Pakistan (SECP) officer Sidra Mansur and Federal Bureau Revenue's Jahangir Ahmad.

She added that she provided NAB with the 2000-2005 audit report of Hudabiya Paper Mills.

The counsels of Nawaz and his children, Khawaja Harris and Amjad Pervez, raised objection that the witness submitted unverified documents as they did not have company's stamp.

The hearing was then adjourned until November 22, when four more prosecution witnesses have been summoned.

The NAB deputy prosecutor urged the court to declare Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz as proclaimed offenders as the process of ensuring their presence has been completed.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday vowed to take struggle against what he said double standard of courts to logical end as he appeared before an accountability court which is hearing corruption cases against him.

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Other Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leaders including Tariq Fatemi, Saad Rafique, Talal Chaudhry and Marriyum Aurangzeb were also present during the hearing.

On November 8, the court had formally indicted Sharif in three references as he was earlier indicted on October 19 and 20 in presence of his legal representative Zaafir Khan.

In late July the Supreme Court sacked Sharif following an investigation into corruption allegations against his family, making him the 15th premier in Pakistan's 70-year history to be ousted before completing a full term.

In an informal chat with media persons outside the court, the former Prime Minister said there should be no double standards in dispensation of justice.

To a question, he hoped the trial would be fair.

The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court's order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.

Safdar was also directed to take the court's permission before leaving the country from now on.

It was the 12th hearing of Avenfield properties and Azizia Steel Mills references and 13th hearing of the Flagship Investment reference. The judge also provided a copy of the reference - spread over 53 volumes - to Maryam and Safdar.