Al-Azizia Reference: AC Resumes Hearing Against Nawaz

An accountability court on Thursday resumed hearing of Al-Azizia Steel Mills case against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Judge Arshad Malik is hearing the case, in which, Khawaja Haris will initiate cross-examination from the investigation officer. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is present in the court room today.
Earlier on September 25, the hearing of Al-Azizia reference filed against Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on directions of the apex court entered its decisive phase as Khawaja Haris summed up cross-examination of Wajid Zia [prosecution’s witness and head of Panamagate joint investigation team].
According to the details, the accountability court wrapped the arguments of NAB’s investigative officer on Thursday for recording the statement.
As the hearing proceeded, Khawaja Haris posed questions about the name of Hill Metals, agreements of loans taken by Hussain Nawaz and Panamagate JIT members before Wajid Zia.
Later, the court adjourned hearing till Thursday and summoned investigative officer of NAB.
On September 24, the accountability court granted a three-day exemption to the former premier on account of Kulsoom Nawaz’s demise while hearing corruption references against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members.
The application was moved by Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris seeking exemption from personal appearance in the Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment reference hearing. Providing two reasons for seeking the exemption, the application stated that the demise of former first lady Kulsoom Nawaz had affected Nawaz’s mental and physical health and also cited his personal commitments as reasons for not appearing before the court.
“The applicant has been inundated by visits from his relatives and well-wishers from all over the country on a daily basis, and this has resulted in his suffering from fatigue, which has been further compounded by grief suffered not only on account of demise of his late wife, but also because of being disabled from spending time with her and being besides her during the last days of her life,” said the application submitted in court.
The defence had requested a five-day exemption in its application.
The application also nominated Ibrahim Haroon to appear in court in lieu of Nawaz for the exempted time period.
The trial against the Sharif family commenced on September 14, 2017.
On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
On July 10, the Supreme Court granted another six-week extension for Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir to conclude the remaining corruption references against Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.