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    Tuesday, 16 January 2018

    Nawaz appears before accountability court for the 13th time

    Former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Safdar appeared before an accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday as a hearing into the three corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) went underway.
    During the hearing, two witnesses recorded their statements in front of Judge Mohammad Bashir. A third witness, Afaq Ahmed, was also expected to testify today but was unable to do so after being unable to acquire documents from the Supreme Court.
    Nasir Janejo, the prosecution's witness, told the court that he was included in the inquiry into Flagship Investment Ltd. He added that in August 2017, Shahbaz Haider provided a record pertaining to Chaudhry Sugar Mills.
    "After Shahbaz Haider, the investigating officer recorded my statement in the Flagship Investment probe," Janejo said. "These proceedings took place on 21 August 2017."
    Responding to a question posed by Nawaz's counsel, Advocate Khawaja Harris, Janejo said that after Haider recorded his statement, no other statement was made in front of him nor was any action taken.
    The second witness, Umar Daraz Gondal, was brought under pressure by Harris as the latter cross-examined him. There was a heated exchange of words between Advocate Harris and the National Accountability Bureau's prosecutor general when the latter prompted the witness.
    The prosecution said that Advocate Harris was posing the same question before the witness over and over again and confusing him.
    The hearing was adjourned until January 23 after the judge accepted NAB's request to allow Afaq Ahmed to record his statement once he acquires the relevant documents.
    Three more witnesses have been summoned to testify before the court in the next hearing.
    Earlier, Nawaz had flown in from Lahore with Maryam and Safdar from Lahore and made his way to court after a brief stay at Punjab House. A heavy contingent of police was seen stationed outside the court on their arrival.
    This was the 13th time the ousted prime minister appeared before an accountability court.

    NAB references

    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.
    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.
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