Pakistan News

Al-Azizia reference: Nawaz Sharif to record his statement before accountability court today

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday argued before the accountability court that his speech in the National Assembly could not be presented as an evidence because it enjoyed constitutional immunity, ARY News reported.

 

He will continue recording his statement for the second day today. Judge Arshad Malik will chair the proceedings.

 

During the Al-Azizia reference hearing, Mr. Sharif submitted answers of 44 questions out of total 50 in the reference. He said remaining questions were complicated in nature hence he needed further examination before filing an answer.

 

Sharif personally appeared on the rostrum to give answers to the court’s questionnaire in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference. He said that the Al-Azizia Mills was established by his father and he never owned it.

 

“I never said that I am an owner of either Al-Azizia Mills or Gulf steel mills,” he told the court.

 

He added that he had no connection with any of the contracts involving the aforementioned mills.

 

Mr Sharif recorded his statement in the Al-Azizia reference after the defence counsel concluded cross-examination of the last witness who is the investigation officer of the reference.

 

According to the charge sheet against the former premier in the Al-Azizia reference, Mr Sharif has been accused of owning assets which are disproportionate to his known sources of income. It says transactions have been carried out between Mr Sharif’s family members and their companies without any plausible explanation and consideration.

 

The Supreme Court had given Nov 17 deadline to wind up references of Al Azizia and Flagship Investment, however, reports surfaced on Tuesday that the court may seek further extension in time to conclude cases.

 

The National Accountability Bureau had filed three references on Sept 8, 2017 against Mr Sharif and his family, and another reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar. The three references against the Sharif family are related to the Flagship Investment Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties and Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment.

 

On July 28 last year, the Supreme Court had disqualified Mr Sharif from holding the office of prime minister and also directed NAB to file four references against the Sharif family and Mr Dar in a trial court within six weeks.

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