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Accountability court allows NAB to record witness statements via video link

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The accountability court hearing three corruption cases against Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt(Retd) Safdar on Friday, allowed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to record statements of two UK based witnesses. NAB had filed a supplementary reference against Nawaz Sharif and four others in the Avenfield properties case on 22nd January, which included seven new witnesses, including two based in the UK.

In the Avenfieled case, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (Retd) Safdar are the accused. NAB claims that the supplementary reference will provide fresh evidence against them. Nawaz Sharif’s Counsel Khawaja Harris protested against the supplementary evidence and claimed that it provides nothing new and it was not per the SC’s directives but his request was turned down and the supplementary reference was filed.

Even if the party doesn’t disintegrate, a decision against Sharif will sway the public opinion against PML-N and greatly lower their chances of winning the upcoming elections.

As today’s proceedings began, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar requested the court that the statements of the foreign witnesses should be recorded via a video link since they couldn’t come to Pakistan for security concerns. He also stated that if they are brought to Pakistan, the government would have to bear the expenses. The witnesses are ready to record their statements on 6th and 7th February.

Maryam and Safdar’s counsel Amjad Pervez presented his arguments against NAB’s plea and stated that if witnesses are allowed to record their statements via video link then his clients should also be absolved of coming to the court for every hearing since they also have other commitments. The court then reserved its decision but didn’t announce it.

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The supplementary reference includes seven new witnesses, forensic expert Robert Radley and a close relative of Panama case Joint Investigative Team head Akhtar Raja, Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia, two witnesses affiliated with the ministry of information, one witness from a private media channel and two witnesses who work under NAB. Excerpts of interviews by Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar are also a part of the fresh evidence.

If Nawaz Sharif is disqualified, it has the potential to disintegrate the whole party since many leaders of the PML-N will be uncomfortable to side with a man who has been proven to do corruption.

NAB delegations have paid a number of visits to London to find evidence in the Avenfield properties case. The supplementary reference is a result of the findings in those trips. Media analysts speculate that NAB is exhausting all its resources to find enough evidence to indict Nawaz Sharif and his family in the Avenfield reference case, and their efforts are proving to be fruitful so far.

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Three corruption references were filed by NAB against Nawaz Sharif and his family after the 28th July 2017 verdict that disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The two sons of Sharif, Hussain and Hassan, are also part of the three references but they have been declared as proclaimed offenders by the court for their absence during the proceedings.

As today’s proceedings began, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar requested the court that the statements of the foreign witnesses should be recorded via a video link since they couldn’t come to Pakistan for security concerns.

Political analysts are predicting that the end of the graft cases is near since almost all the witnesses have already recorded their statements before the accountability court; the case seems to be going in favour of NAB and against the Sharif family since nearly all witnesses produced, testified against Nawaz and supported NAB’s claims.

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Media and political analysts believe that Nawaz will be indicted and punished in the graft references before the 2018 elections and it will prove to be a big blow for the PML-N. If Nawaz Sharif is disqualified, it has the potential to disintegrate the whole party since many leaders of the PML-N will be uncomfortable to side with a man who has been proven to do corruption. Even if the party doesn’t disintegrate, a decision against Sharif will sway the public opinion against PML-N and greatly lower their chances of winning the upcoming elections.


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1 COMMENT

  1. How long corrupt politicians and their offspring can evade and escape their logical end through alibis? A dauntless SC bench with exceptional level of self denial and with a JIT possessing the same traits is going to fix all the culprits and get looted riches of nation returned to alleviate the suffering of 200million Pakistanis once for all. No games will work this time. Soon the others of their ilk like Riaz Malik will be also made to pay hundreds of billions evaded through taxes so we have really new Pakistan free of debts as strong leading nation of the world

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