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August 28, 2018
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Wajid Zia says no questionnaire sent to Qatari prince in Panamagate

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August 28, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Former PM Nawaz Sharif’s wish to have tea outside jails remains unfulfilled. On Monday, he requested permission for taking tea at a stall outside the court while the hearing was delayed for an hour. His request was turned down.

Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik of the Accountability Court II is hearing the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references. The hearing was delayed for an hour as Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Harris was busy at the Supreme Court.

After rejection of Nawaz's request, PML-N leader Nasir Butt brought tea for him at the court. However, there was no space in the staff room for the PML-N leaders. They turned towards the courtroom but were told that food and drinks are not allowed in the courtroom. Thus, Nawaz's wish remained unfulfilled.

As the hearing resumed, Nawaz's counsel cross-questioned the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head and prosecution's star witness Wajid Zia. Zia informed the court that after consultations, the JIT decided against sending questionnaires to witnesses. Asked if this point was part of the JIT report, Zia said it was not.

"During consultation on Qatari prince's letter, we could not reach an agreement on whether to visit Doha or not," Zia said. He added, "The matter was taken to the Supreme Court and we suggested against sending questionnaire in advance whether or not we visited Doha." Harris remarked that the letter written to the SC did not mention that the JIT decided against sending questionnaires to witnesses. "Was Irfan Mangi present at the meeting during which it was decided to not send questionnaires and did he mention that in NAB cases questionnaires are sent beforehand?" Harris questioned.

Responding to Nawaz's counsel, Zia said, "Mangi was present but mentioned no such thing." Asked if he knows that questionnaires are sent beforehand in NAB cases, Zia said, "I've never worked in NAB so cannot comment on it. However, few members mentioned that some departments and FIA send questionnaires in advance."

The Accountability Court judge also questioned Zia as to how many letters the Qatari prince wrote. "The letters cannot be verified as the Qatari prince did not visit Pakistan nor did the JIT visit Doha," the judge remarked. The court directed Nawaz to appear before it again today (Tuesday) for hearing the remaining two corruption references against him and his family.

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