Islamabad : Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Muhammad Safdar appeared before an accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday as trial resumed into the corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir had last week granted Sharif a seven-day exemption from personal appearance while his daughter Maryam was exempted for a month. However, the duo appeared before the court today due to a change in their plans.
On Wednesday Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir resumed the hearing of the case. During the proceeding NAB prosecution presented four new witnesses against the Sharifs.
Mohammad Rasheed, Mazhar Raza Khan Bangash have testified before the court. The witnesses recorded their statements in the Avenfiled flats reference and were cross-examined by Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris. The court has summoned two witnesses on November 27.
In his statement, Rasheed testified that he had received a letter from NAB Lahore on September 5. He appeared before the bureau and handed over the required documents to the investigating officer.
Maryam and Nawaz have now filed an application in the court requesting a change in the exemption period, seeking to be absent from December 5 to January 5, 2018. A decision on the exemption will be taken after the lawyers end their arguments. The Sharif family members left the court after two prosecution witnesses recorded their statements. NAB prosecutor Afzal Qureshi exchanged hot words with the counsel as the former accused the latter of trying to confuse the witness.
Haris objected to what he called was “unnecessary intervention” from the NAB prosecutor. The witness stated that he had no personal connection with the documents he had submitted.
Bangash, the second witness, stated that he appeared before NAB Lahore on August 30 and submitted the requisite documents to the investigating officer. He verified the copy of his affidavit submitted to the court by NAB. He said that documents submitted to NAB had been provided by his company but he could not comment or give his opinion on the document.
Haris objected that the documents presented by Tayyab had not been provided to him prior to the witness’ statement, at which the court ordered copies of the documents to be provided to the lawyer. Later the court adjourned the hearing to November 28.
Earlier, talking to reporters upon his arrival at the court, Sharif said the sit-in held by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in 2014 is continuing in the country in one form or another to date. He said “corruption cases” are now emerging against the PTI leadership as well, including Imran Khan, Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan. Sharif alleged that verdicts against his family are announced swiftly and wondered when judgments against the PTI leaders will be announced. Sharif said the court judgements against his family have affected the government’s progress “but we will continue to perform”.
It was worth mention here that a five-member bench of the Supreme Court on July 28 had directed NAB to file references against Nawaz and his children in six weeks in the accountability court and directed the trial court to decide the references within six months.
NAB had filed three references on Sept 8 against Sharif and his family, and another reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.