Four witnesses record statements in corruption cases against Sharif family

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Nawaz Sharif, accountability court

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing three corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family resumed its proceedings on Wednesday.
Despite being exempted from appearance, the former premier and his daughter, Maryam, attended today’s hearing.
Four prosecution witnesses have been summoned today to record their statements after two witnesses recorded their statements at the last hearing and were cross-examined.
Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case.
Nawaz and his two sons, Hussain and Hasan, are nominated in all three references whereas Maryam and her husband MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are only accused in one.
As the hearing began, Maryam submitted a request asking the court to alter her exemption period. The former premier’s daughter now seeks exemption from court appearance from December 5, 2017 to January 5, 2018.
Similarly, Nawaz has now sought from the court exemption from appearance from December 5-12.
Nawaz’s counsel, Khwaja Harris, completed the cross-examination of NAB’s witness, Mohammad Rasheed, after he recorded his statement.
Afterward, NAB’s second witness, Mazhar Raza Bangash, then recorded his statement in the Avenfield reference.
He was cross-examined by Harris and Amjad Pervez, the counsel of Maryam and Safdar.
The third witness, Chaudhry Sugar Mills’ Chief Financial Officer Shahbaz Haider, has recorded his statement.
The court then went into a recess and resumed with the cross-examination of Haider after which the fourth witness will take the stand.
Speaking informally to journalists inside the courtroom, Nawaz said his government was not allowed to work, adding that despite the dharnas (sit-ins) which began from 2014, the country progressed.
Referring to the courts’ alleged lenient attitude towards Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Nawaz said the rules of the game should be the same.
He said court decisions in their case come swiftly and wondered when the decision on ‘their’ cases will come. “The courts’ double standards are becoming evident,” he said further.
The disqualified premier also deplored the use of terms ‘Sicilian mafia’ and ‘godfather’ terms by the judiciary.
Corruption scandals of PTI leaders Imran, Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan also surfaced, he said further.
Nawaz also hit out at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, a PTI leader, saying he used official vehicles to lead rallies against the federal government during the 2014 sit-in.
Later, during the hearing, when a reporter’s wallet fell out of his pocket, Nawaz quipped that he should pick it up immediately otherwise someone else will steal it and he (Nawaz) will be blamed for it.
The former premier later left the proceedings alongside his daughter.
At the last hearing on November 15, the court had accepted Nawaz and Maryam’s request to be exempted from personal appearance.
The two had sought exemption on the account of the medical condition of Nawaz’s wife, Kulsoom, who is undergoing treatment for lymphoma in London.
The court allowed Nawaz to be exempted for a week and Maryam for a month.
Also at the last hearing, Hussain and Hasan Nawaz were declared proclaimed offenders due to their continuous absence.

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