Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – An accountability court on Tuesday rejected a petition filed by the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to pause the recording of closing arguments in the Avenfield case.

As Judge Mohammad Bashir resumed hearing of the case, the former prime minister submitted a petition through his counsel barrister Saad Hashmi asking the court to record final arguments in all the three corruption references together.

Nawaz, his children – Hassan, Hussain, Maryam Nawaz – and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar have been named in Avenfiled, Al-Azizia and Flagship references, filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of the Panamgate verdict.

Hashmi, submitting the arguments, said that Wajid Zia was the only material witness and the JIT report was the only evidence that was presented by the prosecution in the case.

He asserted that Azizia and Flagship references have the same evidence and witness; therefore, the closing arguments should be recorded in all the three cases.

The counsel had added that if the court proceeded with the final arguments in the Avenfield reference, it would give the prosecution an opportunity to address gaps in the cases they make in the other two references — Al Azizia and Flagship Investment — which will seriously damage the defence’s case.

However, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi opposed the argument and pleaded the court to record the final arguments in the Avenfiled case.

After hearing the arguments, Judge Bashir dismissed the Nawaz’s plea and remarked, “You may challenge this verdict in the high court”.

On Monday’s hearing, the court had directed the prosecution to submit final arguments in the Avenfield case and postponed the cross-examination of Wajid Zia in Al-Azizia case till June 11.

However, Nawaz’s legal counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed had announced to challenge the court’s decision regarding final arguments. “If you will announce the verdict in one reference then transfer the two other references to another court,” he said.