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Al-Azizia case: Nawaz terms JIT report baseless, biased

Al-Azizia case: Nawaz terms JIT report baseless, biased

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday termed the probe conducted by the Panamagate joint investigation team pertaining to a corruption reference biased and baseless.

Accountability court judge Muhammad Arshad Malik resumed hearing the Al-Azizia graft case, filed by the National Accountability Bureau last year in the light of the Panama Papers case verdict.

He asserted that statements recorded by the JIT could not be accepted as evidence. He reiterated that money deposited in his account from abroas was documented in the records of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), adding that he had challenged the JIT report in the apex court.

The court had given a questionnaire comprising 151 items, seeking Nawaz’s reply on it. The former premier has recorded statement for 120 questions while he is submitting his replies for remaining queries today.

A number of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders welcomed Nawaz at the court where strict security measures are also in place.

During the previous hearing on Friday, Nawaz Sharif had stated that the statement of Hussain Nawaz regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills could not be presented as testimony in the court.

Recording the statement before the accountability court, the former premier expressed that the said factory was set up by Mian Muhammad Sharif, instead of Hussain Nawaz.

‘I was never a part of the transactions related to Al-Azizia Steel Mills,’ argued Sharif before Judge Arshad Malik on Friday.

He asserted that Al-Aziz Steel Mills was overseen by Hussain Nawaz but added that the co-accused was not present before the court.

Nawaz Sharif expressed that the six-men Joint investigation Team branded the Qatari letter as hearsay though the Qatari prince had asked to record his statement in Doha.

‘I have never relied on the Qatari letter for defence,’ observed the elder Sharif against whom references were filed in line with the Panama Papers case judgment.

On Thursday, he had denied links with Qatari letters, which had earlier been presented in supreme court by Sharif family to prove its money trail in the Panamagate case.

Raising objections over the investigation report prepared by the apex court mandated joint investigation team in the Panama Papers case, he said: “I am not involved in any kind of transaction in any way.

As many as three references have been filed against the former premier in line with the directives of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case verdict – a decision that ousted Nawaz Sharif from the PM House in July last year.

The accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir had sentenced elder Sharif to ten years in the Avenfield reference. However, the conviction was suspended by a two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court.

NAB has moved supreme court against the decision of the Islamabad High Court which would hear the case on December 12.