Wajid Zia records statement in Avenfield reference against Sharif family

Nawaz Sharif a shareholder of Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Wajid Zia tells court
Nawaz Sharif a shareholder of Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Wajid Zia tells court

ISLAMABAD: Witness Wajid Zia, head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing corruption allegations against the Sharif family, presented former Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber alThani’s letter defending the Sharif family as evidence in court.
The hearing of the Avenfield reference against former premier Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar resumed today at an accountability court in Islamabad. Interestingly, the defense counsel did not raise any objections to the admissibility of the Qatari letter as evidence.
The letter, written by Thani, owes up to Nawaz’s previous allegations, and claims that such letters exist. Zia presented in court as part of his correspondences in the JIT investigation. In July 2017, JIT declared the Sharif family’s prime and final defence – the letters from Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber alThani – as “totally a myth rather than a reality”, adding that the ruling family had never invested 12 million dirhams in the Qatari royal family’s business.
The hearing began with both defense and prosecutions counsels arguing over whether the entire compilation of the JIT report should be admissible as evidence. “The admissibility of the opinion form within the JIT report is still under consideration. The court will announce it’s decision soon,” the judges said on the matter.
Amid arguments on the topic, Zia continued to record his statement and included parts of the report as evidence he gathered himself and through the JIT’s official research. The court gave the defense an option of raising objections to the inclusion of excerpts from the report.
Zia’s complete statement could not be recorded and is expected to be documented by the next hearing.
While the judges permitted Nawaz and Maryam to leave the court, the duo stayed for 3.5 hours for today’s hearing. Judges and others commented on their stay and reiterated that they could leave, but Nawaz and Maryam stayed put for the length of recording of Zia’s statement.
Speaking to journalists inside the court as formal chit-chat, Nawaz said all cases pending against others are of corruption but mine is on assets. “They ask me of my documents from 1970s and ask me where I obtained them, this is all before my political career began,” he said.
Commenting on the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) alliance with Imran Khan, Nawaz said, “Imran has abandoned all his morals and principles with this alliance. He stated before that he could never join hands with Zardari, but he did. He abandoned the youth, the people and his morals. He is just trying to gain something out of this.”
When asked whether he would consider writing a book on his political struggle and his three time premiership, he replied saying, “I have good and bad experiences both, whatever I do is for the good of the country, but I haven’t thought about it yet.”
Nawaz also spoke about Tehreek-e-Adl (The Justice Movement) on which he worked in the first three years after being elected the prime minister. “At first, this movement was for the judges, now it’s for justice, for swift and easy justice.”
Speaking on the outcome of the Senate elections, Nawaz said, “Who is this Sadiq Sanjrani? Who told Bani Gala where he lives, who told Bilawal House where he lives? Who told them to form a unison and vote for this man? Who is behind all of this? Investigate,” he urged the journalists. “Raza Rabbani and Raja Zafarul Haq were the best nominations or the position of Senate chairman, unfortunately, that did not happen.”

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