Al-Azizia case: Court prepares questionnaire for Nawaz

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ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Accountability Court has prepared a questionnaire to be answered by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia corruption reference on the basis of which he will record his final statement.

According to sources, Judge Malik has prepared the questionnaire and a copy of it has been forwarded to special prosecutor Akram Qureshi.

“Nawaz will be asked over 100 questions,” the sources said, adding that Nawaz will be sent a copy of the questionnaire soon on the basis of which he will record his final statement.

Moreover, the court fixed Thursday to record the statement of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.

During the proceedings on Wednesday, Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik, who is hearing the reference, linked the statement of the former prime minister with the presence of his counsel Khawaja Haris in the court.

Khawaja Haris had earlier prayed to the court that he wanted Nawaz to record the statement in his presence.

Earlier, former prime minister was allowed to leave the hearing due to Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s protest in Islamabad against Aasiya Bibi’s acquittal. A day earlier, the accountability court ordered the prosecution to record the former prime minister’s statement during the next hearing of the case.

The order had come after National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Wasiq Malik informed Judge Arshad Malik that the watchdog had completed presenting its evidence against the accused in the reference.

The accountability court has until November 17 to wrap up the remaining two corruption references – Al-Azizia and Flagship Investments – against the Sharif family.

The Supreme Court had granted a final extension to the court earlier this month, after its deadline to conclude the trials against the Sharifs had ended on October 7.

THE TRIAL:

The trial against the Sharifs 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 Hassan, 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.