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NAB Court adjourns hearing in references against Sharif family till Jan 16

NAB Court adjourns hearing in references against Sharif family till Jan 16

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (Retd) Muhammad Safdar Tuesday morning appeared before the accountability court and four witnesses recorded their statements in the references against them.

These references had been filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case. The cases are related to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and London’s Avenfield properties.

Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir conducted the trial and prosecution witnesses, including Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Joint Registrar Sidra Mansoor, recorded their statements before the judge. Witnesses were also cross-examined by Khawaja Harris, attorney of Nawaz Sharif.

Sidra Mansoor presented details of shares, owned by Hussain Nawaz, the former prime minister’s son, in Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills Ltd. She said that according to documents submitted to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Hussain had owned 487,400 shares in the mills.

Advocate Khawaja Harris pointed out that the current investigation pertained to the Al Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, adding the documents presented by witness, related to a different organisation.

The witness explained that she was not aware of the availability of records regarding Al Azizia Steel Mills or Hill Metal Establishment at SECP. Sidra Mansoor said NAB’s investigating officer, before whom she had recorded her statement in August last year, had not asked her about those records.

Later, the statements of Al Azizia reference witnesses Inland Revenue Commissioner Tasleem Khan, private bank official Mohammad Zubair and Uzair Rehan of NAB, recorded their statements.

Avenfield reference witness Umar Draz Gondal could not appear in court due to health issue. The hearing was adjourned till January 16. It may be mentioned that former PrimeMinister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had appeared before the court for the 12th time on Tuesday.

Strict security arrangements were in place, with large number of Pakistan Muslim League-N supporters and senior government officials.