Al-Azizia Reference: Nawaz exempted from court appearance

NAB objects to hearing on Sharifs’ pleas against Avenfield verdict



Waheed Dogar


An Islamabad Accountability Court on Thursday accepted a plea seeking exemption by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from appearance in the court.

Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik of accountability court number 02 heard the NAB References against jailed PM Nawaz Sharif.

Counsel for Nawaz, Khwaja Haris appeared before the court and sought exemption from attendance in the court as his client was in Lahore owing to his spouse’s death.

The AC accepted his plea and adjourned the hearing until Monday.

Wajid Zia grilled

Khwaja Haris while cross questioning prosecution witness Wajid Zia asked, whether or not the Volume 10 of Panama JIT report was sealed while submitting in the Supreme Court. Upon which Wajid Zia replied that volume 10 of the JIT report was not sealed.

“Volume 10 was sealed on a verbal order and five copies were submitted to the top court,” Zia added. He also clarified that the investigation team did not keep a copy of the sealed volume when questioned by Haris.

The defence counsel refuted Zia’s statement and said that “during the Avenfield reference hearing, you said that the JIT did keep a copy with itself”. The defence also recorded Zia’s conflicting statement as part of case record.

Prosecutor NAB countered that a witness testimony from a different reference cannot be entered into this reference’s hearing.

NAB’s objection

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday raised objection regarding the hearings on Nawaz, his daughter and son-in-law’s petitions challenging the Avenfield reference verdict.

A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the petitions. NAB Prosecutor Akram Qureshi began presenting his arguments on Thursday.

Earlier, Nawaz’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, and the counsel of Maryam and Safdar, Amjad Pervez, concluded their arguments.

The NAB prosecutor argued that it wasn’t Islamabad High Court’s prerogative to hear the defence petitions. He further said, “If a petition has been selected for hearing, the petition against suspension of indication cannot be accepted.”

“If a sentence is more than three years then the punishment cannot be immediately suspended,” he further said.  Justice Athar Minallah questioned, “Has there been a daily trial in any other case? This case is different.”

The NAB prosecutor argued, “This case is not different.” Justice Miangul remarked, “We have noticed your observations.”