Zia's testimony proves case against me is a fraud: Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif told journalists after appearing before the accountability court that the prosecution’s ‘star witness’ Wajid Zia’s testimony has “washed away all the allegations against us.”

Zia, the former director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), was cross-examined by Nawaz’s counsel Khwaja Harris in the court of accountability judge Muhammed Bashir, who resumed hearing the Avenfield reference against Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar.

While speaking to the media after the hearing, Nawaz remarked that the drama would not last long as in his opinion the case was a fraud and “many forces are a part of this fraud against me and my family”.

Those who have registered the case against us should be embarrassed, added Nawaz.
“We cannot be punished in this case,” he remarked, adding that if his political enemies want to punish him then they should forge cases against him for corruption in rental power, Hajj scandal or EOBI where billions of rupees were embezzled.
“We are the not the ones to run away.”
He said that he appears before the court as he respects the law. “Why would I come for the case hearing? My wife is under treatment [in London].”
The former premier, who was flanked by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders such as Tallal Chaudhry and Marriyum Aurangzeb, remarked that he is not being allowed to leave the country now.

‘Don’t interfere in work of others’

Speaking about Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Nawaz remarked that the CJP has been touring different hospitals and private medical colleges since last few months. “I think we were target of those tours as well. We run a charitable organisation. Sharif Medical College is the best medical colleges and runs on welfare. It cannot be used to target us.”
The function of the Parliament has also gone into the “hands of others”, he said, adding “laws have been struck down. I was removed as the president of PML-N after the elections acts was struck down.”
The former premier remarked that CJP with suo motu notices has taken the matters in his own hands and taken the functions of executive away from it.
“I am not saying this should not be done [taking suo motu notices]. Please do this, but also do something about 1.8 million cases which are pending in courts. Thousands of people are still waiting for their turn to get justice.
“You shouldn’t interfere with what is not your work,” Nawaz added.

Khawaja Harris cross-examines Wajid Zia

During proceedings, Khwaja Harris questioned Zia if there were any documents which proved that Nawaz currently is, or ever was, the beneficial owner of Avenfield? To this Zia replied: “We don’t have documents to show that Nawaz was the beneficial owner of Avenfield.”

“It is partially correct that we found out about the beneficial owner on the basis of two letters written in 2012 and 2017,” said Wajid Zia, adding that they came to the conclusion analysing the letters and laws of the United Kingdom.

He further remarked that he has never seen original documents of registered offshore holdings.

The accountability court is hearing three corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

On Tuesday, Zia, who headed the Panama case investigation team which probed the Sharif family’s assets, finished recording his statement in the Avenfield case against the Sharif family.
As Zia resumed recording his statement for the fifth time, he informed the court that Nawaz’s elder son Hussain owned the Avenfield flats from 1993 to 1996.
When Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez objected to the claim, Zia said Hussain had informed the JIT of the same so the fact cannot be disputed. Zia also asserted that the signed documents submitted to the JIT by Nawaz’s children were bogus.

The cases

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
The corruption references, filed against the Sharif family, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.