Nawaz to testify in Al Azizia reference today

Deposed premier will be asked around 100 questions; will record statement under Section 342


Our Correspondent November 01, 2018
Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court hearing corruption references against former prime minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif has decided to record his statement in the Al-Azizia Steel Mill case on Thursday.

The former premier appeared before Judge Arshad Malik's court where the cross-examination of Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia in the Flagship reference continued.

The PML-N supremo's counsel Khawaja Harris informed Judge Malik that he had pending cases in the Supreme Court (SC). He requested the accountability court to record his client's statement the next day in his presence.

Accepting the request, Judge Malik said, "If Harris is present in court on Thursday then Sharif's statement will be recorded."

During the hearing, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar opposed Sharif's request of providing him a questionnaire related to the Al-Azizia reference before the cross-examination. "This condition applies to the witness as well."

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He asked the court to record the investigation officer's statement since Harris was not cross-examining the JIT head.

"I don't know why this case is being sped up," responded Harris. "They are just after one person."

Muzaffar replied, "Both the references are being heard simultaneously on your suggestion."

According to sources, the questionnaire for Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference has been prepared and a copy has been given to special prosecutor Akram Qureshi.

The ex-PM will be asked around 100 questions and he will record his statement under section 342 in light of the questionnaire provided to him.

During cross-examination, JIT head Zia informed the court that according to statements given by witnesses, Gulf Steel was established in 1973-74 and 75 per cent of its shares were sold in 1978. "The remaining 25 per cent shares were sold in 1980."

He further told the court that the name of Gulf Steel was changed to Ahli Steel after more than 50 per cent of its shares were sold. "This has been confirmed by the witnesses."

It is pertinent to note that the cross-examination could not be completed on the eighth day as well.

The court allowed Sharif to go back home because of reports of protests in various cities.

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