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NAB court records statements of three prosecution witnesses

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday produced before the accountability court three of its witnesses, who testified against the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar in the corruption references filed against them by the anti-corruption watchdog on the Supreme Court orders.

The court judge Muhammad Bashir recorded the statements of the prosecution witnesses, who were later cross examined by Khawaja Haris Ahmad, senior counsel for Nawaz Sharif and Amjad Pervez, counsel for Maryam and Safdar. During the hearing, Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar were present in the court. The witnesses included- Muhammad Tasleem, an Inland Revenue Commissioner of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Zawwar Manzoor, an Assistant Director of NAB and Yasir Shabbir, an employee of a private bank.

Meanwhile, the court directed NAB to produce six more witnesses on next hearing and adjourned the proceedings until January 9. The Islamabad district administration and police had made strict security arrangements in and around the accountability court ahead of Nawaz Sharif and his family members’ appearance. Nawaz Sharif was received by a number of cabinet members and leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) at his arrival at the accountability court. The Supreme Court in its July 28, 2017 verdict in Panama Papers case had disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister and directed NAB to file three corruption references against him and his family members within six weeks and the accountability court wrap up the proceedings within six months.

Mr Sharif is accused in three references, which include Jeddah based Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investments Ltd, and Avenfield properties in London. Maryam and Safdra are accused only in the Avenfield properties reference. It was 11th appearance of Mr Sharif before the accountability court. The court has so far conducted 17 hearings in the Flagship Investments and Avenfield properties references against Nawaz Sharif, whereas 21 hearings have so far been conducted in the Al-Aziza Steel Mills reference.