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‘The case has no rationale, Nawaz tells court during Al-Azizia reference hearing

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court resumed hearing into Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif today (Friday), ARY News reported.

The prosecutor of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) presented arguments in the case for the second day today. The proceedings are conducted by the accountability court Judge Arshad Malik.

In his statement before the court today, Mr Sharif said the case of Al-Azizia dates back to 1973, when Gulf Steel Mills was set up in Dubai. He told the court that the reference of Al-Azizia had no rationale.

The judge intervened, saying ‘we will listen to your arguments later on and we will also put some questions before you regarding money trial.”

He explained that the money sent by his son from abroad was nothing unusual. “Sons often give money to their fathers and this is deemed as honour for any father.”

Yesterday (Nov 29), the court had directed the counsel of NAB to furnish final arguments in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference against former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.

The accountability court had also given a questionnaire to the former PM under section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, to seek his answers. NAB prosecutor, 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.

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.

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

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