A top Pakistani court today approved an application seeking transfer of pending corruption cases against jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his two sons to any other court, according to media reports.
During the course of hearings, the deposed premier's counsel Khawaja Haris had argued that the cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Sharif family members had a common witness -- JIT head Wajid Zia -- while the presiding judge of the accountability court, Judge Muhammad Bashir, had already disclosed his opinion on crucial aspects in all three references.
Haris maintained that the judge had decided on 12 questions of fact in the July 6 judgment in Avenfield Apartment cases which were common in the remaining two cases; Al Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship and other companies.
He requested the court to transfer the cases to a judge who can view the facts and propositions of law with a fresh perspective.
Arguing on different types of bias and interests of the trial court's judge, he said there was reasonable apprehension that the judge may have a conscious or unconscious pre-disposition on the factual aspects of the case which are common to all three cases and have been finally and conclusively decided in the Avenfield case, which may tend to prejudice the accused.
Requesting the court to keep the cases before the same accountability court in the interest of justice, he said that Judge Bashir was the senior-most in the subordinate judiciary of Islamabad.
Sharif, 68, along with his daughter Maryam, 44 and his son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar are serving jail terms of 10-years, seven years and one year respectively in Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, after an accountability court convicted them on July 6 over the family's ownership of four luxury flats in London.
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