Sharifs’ lawyers may present witnesses to counter NAB’s stance

January 15,2018

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ISLAMABAD: With the prosecutors in the references against the Sharif family producing their remaining witnesses in the Accountability Court, the counsels for Nawaz Sharif and other members of the ruling family are seriously evaluating the option to produce their own witnesses to get the allegations leveled by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in these references quashed, the sources told The News here on Sunday.

"Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Haris and other members of the legal team representing Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her husband Capt (R) Muhammad Safdar have initially deliberated to produce witnesses in the Accountability Court to help prove the legal stance taken by the Sharif family in the references against them," the sources said.

The sources stated "It had been decided in principle by the lawyers representing the Sharif family members that if need arises then witnesses both from local and foreign would be produced in the Accountability Court to refute the claims of the NAB in the references against them."

They said the legal team of the Sharif family is currently anxiously waiting for conclusion of the arguments by the prosecutors as they prepare to give a 'thumping response' that may include presentation of witnesses in the Accountability Court.

The sources said presentation of witnesses by the prosecutors including former head of controversial Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Wajid Zia and his UK based cousin Akhtar Raja would help the lawyers of the Sharif family to give final shape to their legal strategy.

They claimed that the counsel of Nawaz Sharif has informed him that the witnesses so far produced by the NAB in the Accountability Court have presented only ‘known sources of income and bank transactions’ of the Sharif family members and anything secret or illegal has not so far been produced against them.

The witnesses so far produced by the NAB in the Accountability Court also included Malik Tayyab, Afaq Ahmad, Adeel Akhtar, Shakil Anjum Nagra, Yasir Bashir, Umer Daraz, Mukhtar Ahmad, Sidra Mansoor, Tasleem Khan, Uzair Rehan, Mohammad Zubair, Mazhar Raza Bangash, Abdul Rasheed, Shahbaz Haider, Yasir Shabbir and Zawar Manzoor.

The media reports claimed that Wajid Zia hired the firm of his PTI-supporting cousin in the United Kingdom costing thousands of pounds to probe against members of the Sharif family.

The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and another against the then-Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif has been accused in all three references—Al Azizia, Avenfield and Flagship Investment—whereas his daughter Maryam Nawaz and Capt. (Retd) Mohammad Safdar are accused in only one: Avenfield (London flats).

In the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment Company references, only Nawaz Sharif was facing the trial and Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz were declared proclaimed offenders in both these references. Maryam Nawaz and Capt. (retd) Mohammad Safdar are facing the trial in the Avenfield (London flats) reference.

Khawaja Haris, the counsel of Nawaz Sharif in the references against him in the Accountability Court, told The News that “We hope that the prosecution will complete its work in the coming days and remaining witnesses will be produced till end of this month in the references against the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“We have all the options available and will take decision keeping in view the situation. The presentation of witnesses-both local and foreigners—cannot be ruled out but any decision in this respect will be taken once all the witnesses of the prosecution record their statements in the Accountability Court,” he said.


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