ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Monday turned down an application, seeking a seven-day exemption for deposed premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam from personal appearance in the Avenfield properties reference.
The court however, allowed them a two-day relief, directing them to appear before the court on Wednesday. Sources said the two are expected to return from London by the next hearing.
Earlier, counsel for Maryam and her husband Captain (retd) Mohammed Safdar told an accountability court on Monday that the noted UK-based forensic expert Robert W Radley is not a truthful and impartial witness rather he is an ‘interested witness’ against the couple facing trial in line with apex court July 28, 2017 verdict.
While presenting his final arguments on the third consecutive day in connection with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference on Sharif’s London properties, the counsel, Amjad Pervaiz, said Radley did not make statement about his education, qualification and skills on oath before the court and he only said he has been working since 1976.
“Radley is not a skilled person in font identification matter and has no qualification in this regard. His expertise and grounds for opinion are not admissible. Neither is he a computer expert nor a font identification expert. The CV of Radley’s daughter, Ellen Radley, attached in the JIT [joint investigation report] reveals her expertise in ‘font identification’ but she is not the witness before the court,” he said.
During cross-examination, he said, Radley admitted that he himself downloaded the Calibri font in 2005 and in the light of that possibility, the availability of the font could not be ruled out.
“Prosecution’s case is that font was not commercially available but the availability of font is not disputed,” Pervaiz said. He questioned why a foreign expert was hired when such experts are available in Pakistan.
He reiterated that Radley was neither hired directly nor through the Foreign Office. He added that two witnesses – JIT head Wajid Zia and his cousin Akhtar Riaz Raja of Quist Solicitor – admitted before the court that his services could be hired directly or through Foreign Office.
“Radley is neither truthful nor impartial witness rather he is an interested witness,” Pervaiz said.
During the arguments, Pervaiz informed the court that Radley submitted two reports on July 4, 2017 and July 8, 2017 before the JIT. “Interestingly, there is nothing in his first report about the Calibri font,” he said.
“How can an expert’s eye miss the font identification in his first report,” Pervaiz said, adding that Radley’s second report talks about the font but does not mention how and why the font issue escaped his attention in the first report.
Besides, he said, the first report is based on photocopies. In his statement, Radley admitted that documents were presented in copy form and it did restrict examination from a number of angles.
In addition, he said, Radley has not given any opinion about overwriting in the year 2006 mentioned on the trust deed and left it up to the court to determine if 4 overwrites 6 or 6 overwrites 4.
While reading from the JIT report, Pervaiz said the JIT based its opinion on Radley’s report and concluded that the trust deeds were fabricated. “Uncorroborated evidence is weak evidence and the JIT based its opinion on a weak report,” he added.
None of the signatories have denied signatures on the trust deeds. Apart from Maryam, Safdar and Hussain, one signatory Waqar Ahmed was also not associated as his statement could have favoured the accused, according to the counsel.
None of the Supreme Court’s 13 questions mentioned trust deeds despite the fact that trust deeds were present before the court, he said, adding that the apex court has not even ordered including Maryam and Safdar in investigation.
“Wajid Zia was not competent of proving contents of the CMAs,” he said, adding no case diary was maintained and it is admitted by Zia that 30 to 40 experts were assisting the JIT. He said their names and qualifications were kept secret on the pretext of security but there is no such order of the SC to support the same.
“It is also a possibility that these 40 people prepared the JIT report and got signatures of the JIT members,” he said, adding that none of the 40 people were produced in the court as witnesses.
Pervaiz said Zia admitted he does not know who procured opinion of UK based expert Gilead Cooper, but Cooper has stated in his first line that he prepared his opinion on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s instructions and it was based on photocopied documents provided by Khan.
By the time Maryam was summoned, Zia admitted during cross-examination that no incriminatory material was available before the JIT. There is no justification of calling someone without any material against him or her, he said.