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SC dismissed NAB appeal to re-open Hudaibiya Paper Mills case

16 December, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to re-open Hudaibiya Paper Mills case involving Rs 1.2 billion alleged money laundering against the Sharif family.A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel announced the short verdict. During the hearing, Justice Isa maintained that despite the court order restraining the electronic media not to hold any analysis on the case, a private news channel attempted to influence the case by bringing a person on screen to analyse the issue.

The one-line order read out by Justice Mushir Alam states that ‘NAB’s appeal to reopen the case is dismissed and a detailed verdict will be issued later’. Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, involving money laundering charges against the Sharif family, was initiated by NAB in 2000, however quashed by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 2014. Later, NAB had filed an appeal against the LHC decision of quashing the case in the apex court.During Friday’s hearing, NAB’s prosecutor Imranul Haq argued that the LHC verdict was based on technical grounds and had flaws, thus Hudaibiya case may be reopened so that legal responsibilities could be fulfilled in the best interest of justice. He stated that Hudaibiya reference was initiated on the confession of Ishaq Dar in 2000 and Dar had submitted an apology in the court. The court noted that the statement on which the case was based had not been attached to the documents submitted by NAB in the court. Justice Isa noted that if Dar’s statement was taken out of the case, then his status will be that of an accused, adding that he had not been made a respondent in the case. “Keep in mind, we are hearing an appeal against the LHC verdict in Hudaibiya case, and not the Hudaibiya reference,” Justice Alam observed.

Justice Isa asked the prosecutor to justify and satisfy the court on delay in filing the appeal and observed that the case was years old but charges were not framed yet. “You have to satisfy the court on the reasons for the delay in filing the appeal,” the judges asked the prosecutor. Concluding his arguments, the prosecutor requested the court to issue notices to the respondents and allow reinvestigation of the case by quashing the LHC verdict. The court then took a short recess and later announced its short order.

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