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Court directs NAB to present final arguments first in Al-Azizia case

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court, while announcing its reserved verdict, directed the counsel of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to furnish final arguments in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference against former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, ARY News reported on Thursday.

The court has also given a questionnaire to the former PM under section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, to seek his answers. NAB’s counsel, Wasiq Malik, during his arguments, said the accused persons were given ample chance before the JIT, Supreme Court and the NAB to defend the charges, but their proofs turned out to be false, he claimed.

He said foreign assets of Mian Nawaz Sharif and his relatives were discovered after unraveling of the Panama Papers.

‘The State is like a mother and it can ask questions regarding excess of wealth of leaders of the country,’ he argued.

Accountability court Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik chaired proceedings  of the case.

During the hearing on Nov 28, NAB’s deputy prosecutor general had requested the court to issue directives to the defence side to first give final arguments in the case as the accused has submitted some fresh documents in his defence.

The court had given over 120 questions to Mr Sharif in the Avenfield properties reference and 151 in the Al-Azizia reference. The former prime minister has so far responded to 148 of the 151 questions.

Nawaz Sharif, during hearing of the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case on Nov 22, told the accountability court that the prosecution had failed to prove charges against him.

The ex-PM said he had decided against defending charges framed against him in the case by NAB. “I am not putting forward anything in my defence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference,” he told the court.

On November 19, the Supreme Court gave three weeks to the accountability court to wrap up graft references against Nawaz Sharif.

The apex court issued the order in response to a request submitted by the accountability court seeking another extension to wind up Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment references against Nawaz Sharif.

The former PM accused Panama Papers joint investigation team head Wajid Zia of falsely implicating him in the probe ‘based on hearsay’.

 

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