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Accountability court agrees to share 50 questions with Nawaz

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ISLAMABAD: The accountability court of Islamabad on Friday ‘partially’ agreed to share 50 questions with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif before recording his statement in two references — Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment — filed against him.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) opposed handing over the questionnaire to Mr Sharif prior to the recording of his testimony under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) under which the judge can put a question to an accused person at any stage of the trial.

As per this section, “for the purpose of enabling the accused to explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against him, the Court may at any stage of any inquiry or trial without previously warning the accused, put such questions to him as the Court considers necessary, and shall, for the purpose aforesaid, question him generally on the case after the witness for the prosecution have been examined and before he is called on for his defence.”NAB prosecutor in Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references says handing over questionnaire to ex-PM is tantamount to giving him concession

The head of the prosecution, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, argued before the court that handing over the questionnaire to the accused was tantamount to giving a concession to the accused person since every question should be surprising and unexpected for him during the course of trial proceedings.

Lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed on the other hand said that the accused was seeking the questionnaire not as a concession but it was to assist the court in order to conclude the reference within the stipulated timeframe as set by the Supreme Court.

t to consult the relevant record before every question that may be posed to him by the court during recording of his statement under Section 342 of the CrPC,” the counsel asked.

Mr Haris drew the attention of the court to media reports which claimed that the questionnaire meant for Mr Sharif had been handed over to the special prosecutor of NAB for vetting.

Wasiq Malik, a special prosecutor in this case, told the court that NAB was not vetting any questionnaire since this was a matter between the accused person and the court.

Meanwhile, the accountability judge, Mohammad Arshad Malik, also allowed the application filed by the prosecution to place on record the response to the requests seeking Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) from the British Virgin Island (BVI).

Judge Malik asked the prosecution whether these were the direct evidence, the prosecutor replied that these were not the direct evidence but were circumstantial record.

The court recorded the statement of the last prosecution witness, Mohammad Kamran, in the last reference against the former premier.

The counsel for Mr Sharif will start cross-examination of the witness who is the investigation officer of NAB in the Flagship investment reference.

The judge exempted Mr Sharif from personal appearance on Friday due to security issues and put off further proceeding till Monday (Nov 12).