|Court turns down Nawaz lawyer's objections, includes bank documents in case record|
An accountability court in Islamabad has dismissed the objections raised by the counsel for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif against a prosecution representative in a corruption reference.
Judge Mohammad Bashir is hearing the Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Sharif. Defence counsel Khawaja Harris' assistant lawyer Ayesha Hamid represented him in the court today.
On Wednesday, the court had heard NAB's plea to include documents provided by Noreen Shahzad — who replaced prosecution witness Malik Tayyab as branch manager of Standard Chartered Bank — in the case record.
Hamid had objected to the request, saying that since Shahzad's name is not on the witness list, documents provided by her cannot be counted as evidence.
"In what capacity has Noreen Shahzad submitted documents to the court?" Hamid had asked, adding that Shahzad was not able to present an authority letter from her employer. She had also said that the defence team was not informed of Shahzad's involvement in the case.
The court after hearing arguments from both sides on Thursday rejected the objections raised by Hamid against Shahzad's status.
The judge ordered that documents presented by Shahzad be made a part of the case record.
The NAB prosecutor had argued that Shahzad is now the manager of the bank where Tayyab was earlier employed. He said Shahzad too has presented documents concerning Nawaz Sharif's bank accounts.
After dismissing the lawyer's plea, the court resumed recording the statement of Tayyab, the witness.
Sharif, who is in London, is being represented by Zaafir Khan Tareen before the court.
Tayyab had continued his testimony before the accountability court on Wednesday as well.
Tayyab, an official from Standard Chartered Bank, shared details regarding transactions between Sharif and his sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz.
According to Tayyab, Sharif withdrew $2,200 on February 7, and transferred $600,000 to his Pakistani currency account between March and May this year.
He also provided details of Sharif and his sons’ Euro and Pound Sterling accounts. He said Hussain Nawaz transferred £25,000 to his father’s account in December 2010, and Sharif transferred £25,000 to his own Pakistani currency account in 2015.
A five-member bench of the Supreme Court on July 28 had directed NAB to file references against Nawaz and his children in six weeks in the accountability court and directed the trial court to decide the references within six months.
The Supreme Court also assigned Justice Ijazul Ahsan a supervisory role to monitor the progress of the accountability court proceedings.
NAB had filed three references on Sept 8 against Sharif and his family, and another reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.
The former premier and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all three NAB references, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference.