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SC extends deadline to conclude Al-Azizia, Flagship references until Nov 17

The Supreme Court on Friday extended the deadline for an accountability court to conclude two pending references against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif until November 17.

The chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), who was heading the three-member SC bench that heard Accountability Judge Arshad Malik’s appeal, warned that if the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments references were not wrapped up by Nov 17, the accountability court would have to hold proceedings on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Accountability judge Arshad Malik, who is hearing the corruption references against Sharif, had written to the SC, requesting an extension in the deadline set earlier to conclude the cases. The previous deadline expired on Oct 10.

During today’s hearing of Malik’s request, Sharif’s lawyer, Khawaja Haris, requested the court to grant a six-week extension, however, his request was turned down by the bench and a five-week extension was granted. Haris asked the court to “listen to him at least once”, to which CJP Mian Saqib Nisar replied: “We listen to you every time, yet an impression is created that we don’t consider your request.”

The CJP also warned that the court will take action against judges who delay cases and added: “The accountability of judges has started.”

“Action will be taken under Article 209 against judges who take up less cases,” the chief justice announced.

Al-Azizia reference

Meanwhile, in the accountability court, Sharif’s counsel urged the judge to recall the investigation officer in the Al-Azizia case as they wished to ask him some more questions regarding other witnesses of the case.

The request was granted and the court issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until October 15.

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