Wajid Zia’s plea to make entire JIT report part of Avenfield case rejected

ISLAMABAD: The Accountability court has on Thursday rejected the plea by Wajid Zia, head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that had probed the Panama case against the Sharif family, to make the entire JIT report a part of the Avenfield case.

The suggestion was objected to by the defense’s counsel Amjad Pervez on grounds that the JIT recommendations at the end of each volume could not be made part of the case. The judge agreed to Pervez and turned down Wajid Zia’s appeal.

The proceedings of Avenfield properties corruption case are underway to record statement of lead witness Wajid Zia at the Supreme Court (SC), exempting the former Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz from court appearance due to Sharif’s ill-health on Thursday.

Judge Muhammad Bashir summoned the lead witness Wajid Zia head of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Panama Papers case, to record his statement in the Avenfield corruption case today. As the proceedings began, former PM and his daughter requested to be exempted from court appearance due to Sharif’s ill-health. The court, exempting Sharif and his daughter upon request, directed Captain (r) Safdar to remain in court till the session ends.

The hearing was adjourned for a brief period due to the absence of Zia from court. However the prosecution team informed the Judge that Zia will be appearing shortly after obtaining the original JIT report from the SC.

Later on, Defense’s counsel Amjad Pervez cross-examined the key witness, whereas Sharif’s counsel Khwaja Harris will cross-examine Zia on March 13.

In the wake of Panama Papers case verdict, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed supplementary references in corruption cases against the Sharif family in Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Flagship Investment Ltd and the Avenfield properties cases.

In the last hearing of the Avenfield properties case, Sharif’s counsel Harris had requested the court for a joint statement of witness Zia in all three supplementary cases.

The SC has given a two-month extension in the deadline of the corruption cases’ final verdict which was to expire on March 13.