Wajid Zia, prosecution witness in the Al Azizia reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, completed recording his statement in the accountability court on Tuesday. Zia, who headed the Panama case joint investigation team (JIT) that probed the Sharif family’s assets last year, has already testified in the Avenfield properties reference. Nawaz appeared in the court of Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir but was allowed to leave the courtroom after marking his attendance. As the hearing went under way, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi pleaded the court to record the statement of Nawaz and his family in the Avenfield case. Khawaja Haris, the counsel for Sharif, objected that the statement of the accused should not be recorded at this point in time. However, the court turned down objection of the Sharif family’s lawyer on recording the statement of the accused. The judge ruled that the statement of former premier Nawaz Sharif and members of his family named in the case could be recorded after testimonies of prosecution witnesses. Zia then resumed recording his statement. Once he finished, the court adjourned the hearing until Wednesday when his cross-examination by Nawaz’s counsel will begin. Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases – Al Azizia, Avenfield and Flagship – in the accountability court after NAB filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case last year. Published in Daily Times, May 16th 2018.