Pakistan

Avenfield case: Wajid Zia’s cross-examination under way

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing the Avenfield properties reference against the Sharif family resumed its proceedings today
Owing to inclement weather, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam were unable to depart from Lahore to attend the hearing.
As the hearing went under way, the court approved, as it did at the last hearing for the same reasons, Nawaz and Maryam’s plea to be exempted from appearance today.
The third accused, Nawaz’s son-in-law MNA Muhammad Safdar, is present in court.
Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez has resumed cross-examination of Wajid Zia, an additional director at the Federal Investigation Agency who headed the Panama case joint investigation team (JIT) which probed the Sharif family’s assets last year.
The hearing is under way.
Avenfield reference
The Avenfield properties reference is among three filed against Nawaz and his family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court’s directives.
Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir, who has been conducting corruption proceedings against the Sharif family since September last year, is presiding over the case.

On Wednesday, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris concluded, on the tenth day, Zia’s cross-examination in the Avenfield case.
After Haris concluded his cross-examination, Maryam’s counsel began his cross-examination.
The cases
The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
NAB to file three supplementary references against Nawaz
The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, 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 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.

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