General

Captain Safdar left alone to face trial by ‘busy’ Nawaz, Maryam

Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar on Tuesday recorded his statement in the Avenfield Apartments reference.
During the statement, neither Nawaz Sharif nor Maryam Safdar, ministers, political workers, lawyers and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supporters stayed behind to support him. Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz briefly appeared before the court and left as Maryam Nawaz was scheduled to hold a press conference at Punjab House at 11am.
Safdar stood alone and answered many of the questions that were from the period when he was not married to Maryam and part of the Sharif family. “Some questions pertain to the period prior to my marriage,” Safdar quipped when questions were being read to him.During Safdar’s statement, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi also left it to other NAB prosecutors and sat in a chair in the front row until the Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir inquired about his stance on something. At one moment, there were only two NAB prosecutors, defence counsel Amjad Pervaiz, one reporter and two security officials on each side who stood near Safdar.
During the 15-minute break, when court reporters asked Safdar why everyone left him alone in the courtroom, Safdar said, “It was my wish that Nawaz Sharif and family members are not present during my statement…having the judge in front of you and Nawaz Sharif on your back adds extra pressure.”
A reporter inquired about Maryam Nawaz leaving the courtroom to which Safdar said, “Maryam is with me for the last 25 years…Isn’t that enough that she has stayed with an empty-pocket man for 25 years.”
He said that Maryam Nawaz left the hearing because “he needs her the most at this moment” and added that the ministers left since they had work in they had to “attend important sessions in the last working days.”
While answering the court questions, Safdar said, “My name did not find mention in any of the documents known as PANAMA LEAKS.”
With regards to the Gulf Steel Mill’s establishment in 1974, GSM’s sale 75% of shares of in 1978 and 25% in 1980, subsequent 12 million AED’s investment with Qatari Royal family who purchased Avenfield apartments through company Nielson and Nescoll, co-accused Hassan and Hussain’s stay in the apartments and final settlement with Qatari family in 2006, Safdar said that all these subjects do not relate to him. However, he said that “it is correct that co-accused Maryam Safdar was made trustee and I signed the trust deed as witness.”
Meanwhile, a lawyer who regularly appears before the court regretted that all other cases pending in the court haven’t been properly heard for the last eight to nine months. He revealed roughly 50 cases were pending before the court but only Panamagate trial is being regularly heard. Safdar would resume his statement on May 30.
Nawaz Sharif told the reporters outside the accountability court that the commission ought to comprise of judges, military men, lawmakers and other notables.
He added that the proposed commission would identify who made what kind of policies and also reveal their part in it.
Commenting on the recent naming of Justice (retd) Nasirul Mulk as caretaker premier, Sharif lavished praise on the ‘English’ judge. Terming Mulk an “outstanding” chief justice, the former prime minister said he had done great service to the nation.