–Accountability Court-II judge summons former PM in Al-Azizia and Flagship Investments references
–Orders prosecution to ensure presence of key witness Wajid Zia in court
ISLAMABAD: Convicted former prime minister (PM) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Thursday has been summoned by an accountability court on Monday in two corruption references that are still pending against him and his two sons.
Judge Arshad Malik of Accountability Court-II took up the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references on Thursday, directing that the accused be presented before the court at the next hearing.
As the hearing began, the NAB prosecutor informed the judge that the IHC had transferred the two references against the former prime minister and his sons to court-II.
Hassan and Hussain Nawaz have been declared absconders by the court due to continuous non-appearance in proceedings in all references, while Nawaz Sharif has been jailed for 10 years in the Avenfield reference.
The deputy prosecutor said that Nawaz, who was convicted and facing jail term at Adiala, couldn’t be produced before the court on Thursday due to security concerns. Earlier, court-I had summoned the joint investigation team (JIT) head Wajid Zia in these references, he further maintained.
The court subsequently directed to produce Nawaz Sharif on next date of hearing, August 13, and also summoned Wajid Zia on the same date.
Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris told the court that he will have to appear before the IHC on Monday in connection with a petition of Sharif family members seeking suspension of their sentences and bail. He also requested the court to adjourn cross-examination of prosecution witness Wajid Zia until Friday (August 16).
“The prosecution can produce Zia for recording his statement in the Flagship reference if they want,” he said.
The prosecution, however, opposed Khawaja Haris’ proposal, insisting that the cross-examination of Zia should be completed first before recording the statement. “He is an important witness and needs peace of mind,” argued the prosecutor.
The judge then deferred the hearing of the two references to Monday.
Earlier on August 7, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had ordered transferring the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references against former PM Nawaz and his family to another court, accepting the plea filed by Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris.
The high court, which had earlier reserved its order after NAB Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi’s concluded his arguments, decided in the favour of the Sharif family shortly afterwards.
A two-member bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Mian Gul Hassan and Justice Amir Farooq, had ordered the transfer of the cases on Nawaz’s plea
The Sharif family had also petitioned against their convictions in the Avenfield reference. The IHC had clubbed the two references, which are being heard by the same two-member bench.
The caretaker cabinet had earlier suggested conducting the trial of corruption references against Sharif family in jail but later rescinded from the decision.
Sharif family had also appealed against its conviction in Avenfield verdict.
Earlier on July 6, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of 10 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference, while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to seven years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was also given a one-year sentence without any fine.