- Nawaz’s counsel asks NAB court to allow them more time to prepare answers for questionnaire handed to Sharifs on Thursday
- Nawaz says ‘everyone will have to be held accountable now’
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar are likely to record their statements in the Avenfield case on Monday after their defence counsels sought more time to ponder over the questions sent by the accountability court.
The Avenfield reference, pertaining to the Sharif family’s London properties, is among three filed against the family of the deposed premier by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court’s directives.
As the hearing went underway on Friday, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Harris pleaded the court to delay the recording of statements until Monday as they need more time to go over the questions sent by court owing to some discrepancies. The prosecution objected to the plea, saying the defence just wants to waste time. However, Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir approved the plea but observed that the recording of statements will not be delayed further than Monday.
Moreover, the court ruled that Panama case JIT head Wajid Zia, whose cross-examination in the Al Azizia reference was to resume on Monday, should now appear in court on Tuesday.
Nawaz appeared in court on Friday along with Maryam and Safdar.
Speaking to reporters inside the court, Nawaz criticised Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Zardari’s statement calling on him to provide accountability of last 30 years, saying “everyone will have to be held accountable now”.
On Thursday, a questionnaire comprising 127 questions related to the Avenfield properties was handed over to the deposed PM and his family. The accused were directed to record their statements as per the questionnaire.
At the last hearing on Wednesday, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi had pleaded the court to record the statement of Nawaz and his family in the Avenfield case. The court had approved the plea despite objections of the defence.
THE CORRUPTION CASES:
The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
NAB had earlier filed interim references in all three cases and later added supplementary references to them with new evidence and witnesses.
Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.
Later, on May 9, the trial court’s second plea for a deadline extension was approved by the Supreme Court which gave a month to both sides to finish the corruption cases.