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Accountability Court adjourns proceedings until tomorrow after Harris’s no-show


News Analysis |

Accountability court adjourned the hearing of the corruption references against the incarcerated former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif—who appeared before the accountability court in a tight security on Monday.

Adiala jail authorities transported Sharif under high security to the premises of the accountability court in Islamabad.

At the beginning of the court proceedings, Khawaja Harris’s junior associate apprised the court that Nawaz’s counsel was busy in the Islamabad High Court—where a petition was fixed for hearing in the division bench.

After this, accused—Sharif and his sons [who are now absconders] would have to record their statements. And, finally, both the prosecution and defense would argue over the case.

Accountability court II Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik inquired about the timing of the IHC hearing. He was informed that division bench would start the hearing at 11 am. The court, therefore, called for a break till 11:30 am but after a no-show from Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Harris until 12:30 pm, Judge Malik was forced to adjourn the hearing till tomorrow.

Khawaja Harris had earlier continued his cross-examination of star witness and head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT)—Wajid Zia, today, in the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references. He had also accused the accountability court of tampering with the record and threatened to leave the case.

Read more: Accountability court hears the NAB references against Nawaz Sharif

IHC issued the notice to NAB to appear before the court on September 4, over the allegations of alteration in the statement of Wajid Zia.

On August 27, CJP headed a three-judge bench comprising of Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan—which ordered a six-week extension in the deadline for concluding the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references. It was the fifth extension, since, the start of the trial against ‘house of Nawaz’ on September 14, 2017, after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif on July 28, 2017.

Accountability court adjourned the hearing of the corruption references against the incarcerated former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif—who appeared before the accountability court in a tight security on Monday.

Currently, the court is running the two references simultaneously, and twin-verdict will be announced in both references.

The court is yet to record the statements of star-witness Wajid Zia and the investigation officer in Flagship reference, while, in Al-Azizia reference, Wajid’s cross-examination is continuing and the investigation officer has partially recorded his statement.

Read more: Accountability court rejects exemption plea: Sharifs play Kulsoom’s health card

After this, accused—Sharif and his sons [who are now absconders] would have to record their statements. And, finally, both the prosecution and defense would argue over the case.

Nawaz’s sons, Hussain and Hasan have been declared proclaimed offenders for not appearing before the court. Both brothers were accused in all the references along with their father. Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court is yet to announce the reserved verdict on the appeals filed by the Sharif against the Avenfield judgment.

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