Witnesses conclude statements against Sharifs in Avenfield reference

  • Nawaz and Maryam did not attend the court hearing due to exemption
  • Court has adjourned the hearing till Dec 19 and summoned Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Capt Safdar
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The witnesses testifying against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members completed recording their statements on Monday before an accountability court in Islamabad .

The former premier’s son-in-law, retired Capt Safdar, appeared before the court today regarding the Avenfield Flats reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) but the elder Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, were not present in the court today as they are in London after they were exempted from appearing before the court.

During today’s hearing, Sharif’s counsel questioned the prosecutions’ witness Malik Tayyab, who in a previous hearing had provided details of cheques issued to Maryam and others from Nawaz Sharif’s bank account.

Sharif’s lawyer, Khawaja Harris Advocate asked the witness if he knew to whom Sharif had allegedly personally issued cheques to.

To this, Tayyab responded that he did not know adding that he had presented his statement based on the records that were available with him.

The lawyer requested that a copy of prosecution witness Afaq Ahmad’s testimony recorded before the Supreme Court-mandated Panama Papers joint investigation team be provided to him.

In a written response to the request, NAB said that the statement has been recorded before the apex court and so acquiring it would take some time.

The statement of NAB’s Assistant Director Adeel Akhtar, another prosecution witness, was also recorded today.

Judge Mohammad Bashir summoned two more NAB witnesses as the hearing was adjourned until Dec 19

The court also summoned Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on next hearing.

Exemption 

On Dec 4, the court had approved a plea filed by former prime minister seeking change in time period for exemption from appearance in the court, while rejected the same plea of his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

The court has granted the exemption to Nawaz from December 5 to 12 as he wanted to go to London to visit his ailing wife.

In Maryam plea, the court said that the previous order will prevail. She wanted the exemption for a month from December 5, 2017 to January 5, 2018. The court had allowed her exemption from November 15 to December 15.

Previous Hearing

At the last hearing, two witnesses of the NAB, including Malik Tayyab, had recorded their statements and provided bank account details of the former premier..

NAB References 

The accountability court is hearing three references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Nawaz and his family regarding London flats, Azizia Steel Mills and other companies in the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.

Nawaz and his two sons, Hussain and Hasan, have been made accused in all three references whereas Maryam and her husband MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are accused in one case regarding London properties.