Haris raises 10 objections to trial court’s move

IHC directs NAB to submit reply by today

Rizwan Shehzad   September 05, 2018
Deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The former premier Nawaz Sharif’s counsel on Tuesday raised a total of 10 objections to the accountability court’s move to allegedly change a statement of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia during his cross examination in the Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment reference.

Former premier’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, recorded his objections after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) allowed his application, challenging the change made in the deposition of Zia.

On August 30, Haris accused the Accountability Court Judge Arshad Malik of ‘record tampering’ and said that the judge allegedly made a change in the statement of the JIT’s head on the insistence of the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi during the witness’s cross examination without providing him an opportunity to contest the prosecutor’s assertion.

Among the objections recorded on Tuesday, Haris said an entire sentence “it is incorrect to suggest that it [Aldar Audit Bureau report] was not produced by the accused Hussain Nawaz Sharif before the JIT” was not there in the originally recorded statement, but was introduced while making the change.

While making deletions and adding the sentence, the originally recorded statement of the witness was not retained on the record, accordingly, after the change in the statement, the record does not reflect what was the originally recorded statement in which the change was effected by the court, he said.

In addition, Haris said, he had asked Zia whether any question had been put by the JIT to accused Hussain Nawaz regarding the Aldar Audit Bureau report during the course of the investigation.

To the question, he said, Zia said he would have to consult the record as there were five sessions during which Hussain had appeared before the JIT. Later, he said, the witness replied to the question in the negative by saying “no”.

Subsequently, Haris said, Zia’s answer was recorded as: “The JIT had not asked any question to accused Hussain Nawaz Sharif regarding the Aldar Audit Bureau report”. In the meantime, he said, NAB’s Abbasi raised objection that the complete answer should: “When he appeared with the Aldar Audit Bureau report”. In response, Haris said, he objected that this was not the question he had put to the witness.

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To NAB’s another objection that Haris’ question was not in the form of a suggestion, Haris said: “This came as a shock to me, and initially I could do no more than to show to this learned court a copy of my handwritten notes for cross examination wherein I had noted this very question, in red pencil, in suggestion form.”

Haris said the portion of notes was read by the court but thereafter the court simply proceeded to change the statement of the witness.

Haris said he had objected to the changes and pleaded that even if any changes were to be effected, the said changes should be made without deleting any portion of the statement of witness as originally recorded, and, after objections from both the parties, a the court may pass a speaking order.

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Haris said he had conveyed to the court that he would ask his client to change his lawyer because he was unable to proceed under the circumstances and had walked out of the courtroom.

Later, Haris said, he realised that it may be not possible for his client to change the lawyer at this stage and he sought an adjournment till Monday so that he could avail remedy from IHC. Following the objections, the court adjourned the reference till September 5 (today) with direction to NAB to submit reply to the objections.

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