Avenfield reference: Sharif’s testimony delayed until Monday

  • Need some time to ponder over the questions: Khawaja Haris
  • Monday is the last day for recording statements of accused: Judge Muhammad Bashir

ISLAMABAD – The statements of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law, Captain (r) Safdar in the Avenfield reference could not be recorded today as the defence sought more time to ponder over the questionnaire sent by the accountability court.

The hearing of the Avenfield reference was resumed by the accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir; Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Captain (r) Safdar appeared before the court, however, their expected testimonies could not be recorded.

When Khawaja Haris, the counsel for Nawaz Sharif, pleaded the court to adjourn the hearing till Monday, the prosecution objected to the plea, arguing the defence just wants to waste time.

However, Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir approved the plea but remarked that the recording of statements will not be delayed further.

The Avenfield reference is among the three references filed against Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau on the Supreme Court’s directives, last year.

A questionnaire comprising 127 queries related to the upscale London flats was handed over to the embattled Sharif family; the accused were directed to record their statements as per the questionnaire on a request made by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s legal counsel Khawaja Harris began cross-examining Wajid Zia, the head of six-member Joint Investigation Team and the prosecution’s star witness, in the Al Azizia reference.

As many as three references have been filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in line with the Panama papers Case verdict.

Besides Avenfield reference, other two references filed by the accountability watchdog pertain to Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Al Azizia steel mills.

Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are named in the Avenfield reference only.

Hussian and Hassan Nawaz are UK-based and have been absconding since the proceedings began last year, however, the former premier has been showing up regularly before the court of judge Muhammad Bashir.