Fearing unrest in the capital on Friday, Adiala Jail authorities decides against presenting Sharif to AC

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News Analysis |

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared before the accountability court in a tight security on Thursday. Adiala jail authorities informed the accountability court that fearing the security threats facing Sharif; they cannot present the former premier in court tomorrow [Friday].

The security agencies have expressed concerns over the expected rallies and sit-ins to pressurize government to sever ties with the Netherlands government and expel the Dutch Envoy from the country. 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.

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.

Accountability court II Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik resumed hearing of the two remaining corruption references, after eventful previous days—which witnessed an escalated war of words between the JIT head and the Khawaja Harris. Zia refrained from answering the technical questions pertaining to corrections in the census, saying that he would only be able to answer based on his general knowledge.

On the question related to the access to the audited Financial Statements of Hill Metals Establishment, Zia replied that he will have to check the record, since, he has no access to volume-X of the JIT report—which contains the Mutual League Assistance (MLA) agreement written to Saudi authorities.

Read more: Famous people who went to Adiala jail

Khawaja accused the accountability court of tempering with the record and threatened to leave the case, after meeting his client.  He said “I won’t allow the accountability court to temper with the case record.” Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Chaudhry Tanvir, Asif Kirmani, Pervaiz Rashid, Raja Zafarul Haq and other senior party leaders of the party visited the former premier in the court. At one point, Judge Malik summoned the security officials to clear the court room of people more than the capacity.

Earlier, this week, Khawaja grilled Zia and termed him dishonest. These provoking remarks from Sharif’s counsel angered NAB’s deputy prosecutor, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi—who raised objections over the use of inappropriate terms. It also prompted a protest from Zia, leading the Sharif’s counsel to retract his statement.

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.

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.

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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 the 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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