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More witnesses testify against Sharifs in graft references

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday recorded the statements of more witnesses in the references filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and members of his family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Judge Muhammad Bashir conducted the trial proceedings. Advocate Khawaja Haris, Sharif’s lawyer, appeared in the court and cross-examined the witnesses after they got their statements recorded against Sharifs.

Witnesses – Umer Daraz and Mukhtar –  recorded their statements in the Avenfield and other references and were cross-examined by the defense lawyer.

The accountability judge summoned more witnesses to testify against the Sharif family on next hearing.

Meanwhile, the former prime minister’s son-in-law, retired Captain Safdar, moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance for 15 days. The court is yet to announce its verdict on his request.

A day earlier, the accountability judge granted the request of the former prime minister to change his period of exemption from personal appearance, whereas dismissed the same plea of his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

The court also recorded the statement of prosecution witness Malik Tayyab Ahmad, an employee of a private commercial bank. He submitted the details of accounts and transactions statements of Sharif.

Maryam and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar have been named in a single corruption reference pertaining to the Sharif family’s London properties. Whereas, Sharif and his two sons – Hassan and Hussain – have been nominated in three references related to the London flats, Al-Aziza Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment.

Hussain, Hassan declared proclaimed offenders

The court on Monday declared Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz as proclaimed offenders after they failed to turn up before it for hearing into the references filed against them.

After they were declared as fugitives, testimonies were recorded under section 512 of the NAB Ordinance to proceed further against Sharif’s sons.

The court was told that bank accounts and assets of the duo had already been frozen.

In mid of November, the deadline for the Sharif sons to appear in court in connection with the Flagship Investments, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield references ─ which also named Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar ─ lapsed on Nov 10.

Hassan and Hussain failed to appear in court despite the issuance of a proclamation against them in October.

Similarly in October, an accountability court had declared Hussain and Hassan – absconders over their perpetual absence from the case proceedings.

Judge Muhammad Bashir granted the request of the NAB prosecutor who asked him to initiate proceedings to declare the absconding accused proclaimed offenders and order attachment of their properties.

The prosecutor said Hussain and Hassan have failed to appear before the court despite issuance of non-bailable warrants for their arrest.



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