Islamabad (September 13, 2018): Accountability Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing of Al Azizia Steel Mills Reference against former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif till September 17 (Monday).
NAB Court II Judge, Arhsad Malik heard the reference, in which Khawaja Harris continued cross-examination of JTI’s Wajid Zia.
During the hearing of the reference, Khawaja Haris submitted plea to grant one-day exemption to his client Nawaz Sharif from appearing before the court, which was accepted.Wajid Zia informed the court during hearing that Supreme Court ordered to seal volume 10 of JIT on verbal orders.
Earlier on September 12, Court adjourned the hearing of the corruption reference against former Prime Minister till Thursday(today).
As the hearing went underway, defence counsel Khawaja Haris apprised the court that Nawaz’s wife Begum Kulsoom had passed away. Stating that he was informed today that Nawaz had been taken to Lahore on parole after Begum Kulsoom’s death, Haris said he had not received instructions to continue with the proceedings in his client’s absence.
Judge Malik then remarked that Begum Kulsoom was a national figure and it was not appropriate to continue with the proceedings.Earlier on September 11, the NAB court rejected a postponement plea by the defence counsel in Al Azizia Steel Mills Reference Case against former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif.
The accountability court judge Arshad Malik noted that the Supreme Court has ordered the references to be closed in six weeks.
The legal assistant of defence counsel Sher Afghan Asadi apprised the accountability court that Khawaja Haris was unable to attend the hearing as he was attending the Islamabad High Court hearing of the petitions pertaining to suspension of the Avenfield verdict. “The IHC hears petitions [pertaining to the Avenfield verdict] on a daily basis,” Asaid said. To this, the judge noted that the accountability court also hears the corruption references on a daily basis.
National Accountability Bureau’s prosecutor general Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said the anti-graft body’s witness Wajid Zia was present for cross-examination.
Noting that the court had only four weeks till the Supreme Court’s deadline expires, the accountability judge refused the request to postpone the hearing till Thursday. Earlier on September 10, former PM, Nawaz Sharif was presented before an accountability court in Islamabad as it resumed hearing of Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference.
Accountability Judge Arshad Malik presided over the trial proceedings. Sharif was brought to the court from Adiala jail amid tight security.
Click Play Button To Watch This Video
The former premier’s lawyer, Khawaja Haris, cross-examined star witness, Wajid Zia who had headed a joint investigation team that probed the Sharif family’s wealth on the directives of the top court.
During the course of cross-examination, Zia said there are certain documents on the record to show that the Hill Metal Establishment was a company.
The company’s service documents were solicited through a request under the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) on June 20, he added.
The trial against the Sharif family commenced on September 14, 2017.
On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
On July 10, the Supreme Court granted another six-week extension for Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir to conclude the remaining corruption references against Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.