–Deposed premier says NAB should stop searching for evidence against Sharif family ‘as sufficient proofs cannot be found against them’
–Two prosecution witnesses record statements before accountability judge
ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will keep striving for the restoration of justice, as two prosecution witnesses recorded their statements before the accountability judge in the graft references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the deposed premier and his family members.
Addressing journalists at Punjab House after appearing in the accountability court, Nawaz said that they haven’t accepted the court’s orders over disqualification and that the nation has also rejected this decision.
“The judges who gave the verdict want face-saving now. I was certain that they wouldn’t find anything against me. That’s why I did not challenge the court orders,” he added.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) report suggests that Pakistan is 16 points ahead of India and Pakistanis must appreciate that, he said.
Discussing the verdict, Nawaz said: “The judges who gave the verdict know that I was not guilty. When they couldn’t find anything they got interim references. I am fighting for the nation and its people. Because of this I am facing a lot of trouble too.”
Talking about Musharraf, he said that nobody has the audacity to bring him to Pakistan.
Talking about the unfortunate rape and killing of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur, Nawaz said that it is a horrible and shameful incident for Pakistan and Asma’s case was incredibly disappointing too. “A lot of politics was played over this issue and that shows that the people don’t have a heart for the deceased child.”
Over his quick verdict, Nawaz said that more often than not, the cases are pending for years but his case was heard within six months.
Throwing his weight behind his brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz said that those who wish that Shehbaz parts ways with us, they are mistaken, no such thing will happen.
“During Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s tenure, an attempt was made for Shehbaz to drift away from the party but that never happened. The second time this was done in Musharraf’s era and this time its happening again. But let me remind you, that would not happen under any circumstance,” he said.
Nawaz conclusively stated that he is not afraid of anything that may come his way, and he assured that the elections would take place on time.
WITNESSES RECORD STATEMENTS:
During the hearing on Tuesday, the regional manager operations of a private bank, Ghulam Mustafa, appeared in court as a witness and recorded his statement.
Mustafa told the court that on August 22, 2017, he had appeared at NAB’s Rawalpindi offices with Yasir Shabir, an officer from a private bank. Mustafa added that on the occasion, Shabir had presented details of Nawaz’s bank accounts to the investigating officer along with details of the former premier’s transactions. According to the witness, the investigating officer, after receiving the verified documents, had prepared a seizure memo.
“I did not mention Hill Metal Establishment in my statement recorded before the investigating officer,” Mustafa told the court. “No record of Hill Metal Establishment related to Nawaz Sharif was presented.”
In a recent hearing of the case, a witness from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan had made a similar statement.
On January 9, Sidra Mansoor had told the court that the SECP had found no transactions linking the Sharif family with Al-Azizia Steel or Hill Metal Establishment. During cross-examination, she had confirmed that while Hussain Nawaz was a shareholder in Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills Limited, the company had no connection or transactions with either of the two companies under investigation.
NAB Assistant Director Aziz Rehan, another witness presented by the prosecution on Tuesday, said that Mansoor had appeared before the bureau on August 25 last year and submitted documents.
The witness confirmed, therefore, what Mansoor had told the court during her testimony: that she had recorded a statement before NAB on August 25 and provided documents regarding Mehran Ramzan Textile Mills Limited in relation to Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz ─ the three shareholders in the company. Rehan added that the seizure memo against Nawaz was prepared by investigating officer Mehboob Alam, who had also recorded Rehan’s statement and asked for his signature on the memo.
Advocate Khawaja Harris, the counsel representing the Sharifs, said he does not want to cross-examine Rehan.
A third witness, Afaq Ahmed, was unable to record his statement yet again as he was unable to retrieve certain documents from the SC.
During the hearing, Harris asked the court to allow the defence time to read the supplementary reference, which was filed against Nawaz, his three children and son-in-law by NAB investigators after they obtained additional evidence under the mutual legal assistance earlier this week.
“NAB has filed a supplementary reference after four months but we are not even being given seven days [to read the reference],” Harris said.
At this moment, NAB prosecutor pointed out that the SC had directed that the references against the Sharifs be wrapped up in six months. He said that the witnesses in the supplementary reference should be called in for the next hearing.
The hearing was adjourned until January 30 and two further witnesses were called in to record their statements.