Material against Maryam, Safdar collected by ISI, reveals JIT head Wajiz Zia

09:03 AM | 13 Apr, 2018
Material against Maryam, Safdar collected by ISI, reveals JIT head Wajiz Zia
ISLAMABAD - The head of the six-member joint investigation team (JIT) constituted in the Panama Papers case, Wajid Zia admitted before the court that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was employed to procure key material against Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, and her husband retired Captain Mohammad Safdar.

During the hearing of the Avenfield reference by Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir on Thursday, the JIT head was asked by defence counsel Amjad Pervez about how the JIT had delivered the trust deeds and other documents signed by Maryam Nawaz, Mr Safdar and others.

"We utilised the services of Brigadier Noman Saeed [of ISI] to deliver the relevant material to Robert W. Radley," replied Zia.

The defence counsel then asked Mr Zia whether it was possible for him to hire the services of Mr Radley directly citing that under the Supreme Court order of May 5, 2017, every state institution was bound to extend assistance to the JIT.

Upon this, Mr Zia admitted that Mr Radley could have been hired directly through Pakistan’s High Commission in London.

Mr Pervez then asked him why the JIT felt the need for engaging the law firm of his cousin Akhtar Riaz Raja, Quist Solicitor.

The star witness kept mum for a while when lead prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi interfered and said the Supreme Court had allowed the JIT to hire experts.

Wajid Zia - the assistant director of Federal Investigation Agency -  then replied that because the investigation team was time-strapped, the law firm was hired to save time.

In response to a question, Mr Zia said that his cousin Mr Raja had called him to congratulate him on his appointment as head of JIT of a high-profile case.

After this, Mr Pervez asked whether anyone ever called you upon such an assignment in the past?”

Zia again remained quiet for some time before prosecutor Abbasi said it was routine to receive best wishes from relatives on such occasions.

The interference irked the defence counsel who complained to Judge Mohammad Bashir that the prosecution was “depriving the accused of their legitimate right to fair trial”.

Earlier the lead defence counsel had alleged that prosecutor Abbasi had met forensic expert Robert Radley in the UK 'to influence his testimony', which was a flagrant contradiction of legal boundaries.

Advocate Pervez argued that the JIT collected the forensic record and other material related to the trust deeds in violation of the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Let it be known that on April 4, the JIT head had testified that evidence related to the Capital FZE, which became a smoking gun for the top court to disqualify Nawaz Sharif, had been collected by two members of the probe team, Brigadier Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence (MI) and Irfan Naeem Mangi of the National Accountability Bureau in a single day.