Nawaz Sharif,Maryam,Muhammad Safdar appeared before NAB
22 November, 2017
Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Muhammad Safdar appeared before an accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday as trial resumed into the corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
A number of senior PML-N leaders were present at the court to welcome Sharif.
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir had last week granted Sharif a seven-day exemption from personal appearance while his daughter Maryam was exempted for a month. However, the duo appeared before the court today due to a change in their plans.
The exemption was granted on the grounds that both wanted to see the ailing Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing treatment in the UK, as well as security reasons.
Maryam has now filed an application in the court requesting a change in the exemption period, seeking to be absent from December 5 to January 5, 2018.
The Sharif family members left the court after two prosecution witnesses recorded their statements.
Two new witnesses testify
NAB prosecution presented two new witnesses against the Sharifs today: Mohammad Rasheed and Mazhar Raza Khan Bangash, who belongs to RIAA Barker Gillette law firm.
Both witnesses recorded their statements in the Avenfiled flats reference. Sharif's counsel Khawaja Haris cross-examined Rasheed and is now cross-examining the second witness.
In his statement, Rasheed testified that he had received a letter from NAB Lahore on September 5. He appeared before the bureau and handed over the required documents to the investigating officer.
NAB prosecutor Afzal Qureshi exchanged hot words with the counsel as the former accused the latter of trying to confuse the witness.
Haris objected to what he called was "unnecessary intervention" from the NAB prosecutor. "Khawaja sahib can ask anything and we stay quiet?" the prosecutor responded.
The witness stated that he had no personal connection with the documents he had submitted.
Bangash, the second witness, stated that he appeared before NAB Lahore on August 30 and submitted the requisite documents to the investigating officer. He verified the copy of his affidavit submitted to the court by NAB.
He said the documents submitted to NAB had been provided by his company but he could not comment or give his opinion on the document.
Objecting to Haris's comment that it is easy to speak the truth but "telling lies is different", the NAB prosecutor remarked: "It is inappropriate to call a witness a liar before the court."
At the last hearing, NAB prosecution had presented its first two witnesses in court ─ Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Joint Registrar Sidra Mansoor and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Inland Revenue Department representative, Jahangir Ahmad ─ both of whom recorded their statements in the references against the Sharif family.
A five-member bench of the Supreme Court on July 28 had directed NAB to file references against Nawaz and his children in six weeks in the accountability court and directed the trial court to decide the references within six months.
The Supreme Court also assigned Justice Ijazul Ahsan a supervisory role to monitor the progress of the accountability court proceedings.
NAB had filed three references on Sept 8 against Sharif and his family, and another reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.