News Analysis |
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Counsel Khawaja Harris 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. Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik of accountability court II resumed hearing of the two remaining corruption references.
The court’s proceedings lasted for a lengthy period today. During the hearing, Khawaja Harris and Wajid Zia exchanged heated arguments between them. Khawaja termed Zia a dishonest man which prompted a protest from the latter, leading the Sharif’s counsel to retract his statement.
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.
On Monday, 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.
The authorities brought Sharif to the courtroom II at the 9:20 am in the morning, but, his counsel reached the premises of the accountability court at 10:30 am. It allowed the former premier to have lengthy discussions with the party leaders, including Pervez Rasheed, Mushahid Ullah Khan, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Sadya Abbasi and other, in the courtroom. Judge Malik adjourned the court after the cross-examination of Wajid at 1:20 pm.
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.
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. Sharif’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.