Petition to record clubbed statement of JIT head Wajid Zia dismissed

The witnesses will be cross-examined by Defense Counsel Khawaja Haris


Rizwan Shehzad/News Desk March 02, 2018
PHOTO: EXPRESS

An accountability court on Friday, dismissed an application filed by Sharif family's counsel requesting the court to record a clubbed statement of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Wajid Zia for all three references.

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Zia was summoned to record his statement in the Avenfield Apartments reference against Sharif, his two sons, daughter Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar, in line with the JIT report.

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During the court proceedings on Friday, defense counsel Khawaja Haris submitted an application wherein it requested the court to conduct a joint trial in all three references on the basis of similar set of allegations against the applicants.

In the application, the Sharif family argued that giving more than one opportunity to Zia for recording testimony will give him a chance to improve his argument which may hamper the Sharif family’s defense.

Responding to the defense counsel’s arguments, NAB lawyer pointed out that if Zia changing his statement it will only benefit the Sharif family, allowing them to raise objections on his testimony.

Haris said that Zia should record his statement at once in the references and the defence team would then cross-examine the witness even if it takes days. The defense counsel cited a previous observation by the Islamabad High Court which allowed that a “request can be made to the learned trial court for cross-examination of joint witnesses which are common in three references on the same day or on the following day so that they have little or no chance for thinking and improving upon what is to be said,” to back its argument.

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Each of the three references are supplemented by the same nine volumes constituting the JIT report, six out of nine witnesses in one reference are the same, six out of 13 in another and two out of 10 in the third are common.

Earlier, different courts had turned down Sharifs’ request to combine the references and the trial court separately recorded testimonies of the witnesses.

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