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Court rejects exemption plea of Nawaz, Maryam from personal appearance

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Friday rejected an application filed by former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam seeking exemption from personal appearance in court for seven days in the Avenfield case. 

The court, however, granted a plea of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking to bring on record new documentary evidence against former premier Nawaz Sharif and members of his family in the case.

Judge Muhammad Bashir announced the verdict, which he reserved earlier in the day after hearing arguments from the prosecution and defence lawyers.

The judge rejected the plea of the former premier and his daughter seeking exemption from personal appearance in court for seven days and granted them exemption for today’s hearing.

Sharif along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz left for London on Wednesday to see his ailing wife Begum Kulsoom who was hospitalized earlier this week after her health deteriorated.

She has been undergoing treatment for quite some time in the British capital for throat cancer.

At the previous hearing, a NAB prosecutor informed the judge that it had received fresh documentary evidence with regard to two references and added the bureau wanted to make them part of the trial proceedings against the Sharif family.

Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi submitted that the prosecution received the documents from foreign jurisdiction in response to the requests for mutual legal assistance (MLA). The documents pertained to the Avenfield and Flagship references.

The NAB will also produce a new witness against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in the Avenfield properties case.

According to details, NAB Operations Director General (DG), Zahir Shah, will be the new witness as he would bring on record the new documents which he has acquired from the British government.

The NAB investigation officer and the DG operations will be two key persons to record their statements as majority of the witnesses have recorded their statements in the case.

According to the documents which Shah will have to present, the Sharif family’s London apartments were transferred to the possession of offshore companies Nielson and Nescoll in 1993-1995, and not in 2005-2006.

Earlier in his statements, Nawaz Sharif insisted that the Avenfield properties were transferred in the name of the companies in 2005-2006, moreover, they belonged to his children. But the documents suggest that in 1993-1995 Nawaz’s children Hussain and Hasan were young and did not have any source of income. Thus, they cannot be considered owners of the properties.

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