ISLAMABAD - A division bench of the Islamabad High Court Monday issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau on an application of former premier Nawaz Sharif challenging the alleged alteration in the prosecution’s star witness Wajid Zia’s statement in Al-Azizia reference.

The division bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, conducted hearing of the petition moved by the former prime minister through his counsel Khawaja Haris advocate and deferred hearing till Tuesday (today) after issuing notices to the NAB.

In the application, Sharif’s counsel accused Wajid Zia, the head of Panama Joint Investigation Team, of changing his statement during cross-examination before the accountability court on August 30.

Nawaz Sharif in the plea prayed to the court to exclude Zia’s statements recorded on August 30. He also requested the court to allow his legal team to cross-examine Wajid Zia again.

On the previous hearing before the AC, Khawaja Haris, the lead lawyer of Nawaz Sharif, accused the accountability judge of tampering with the record in the Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment references as the court gave directions to the authorities concerned to submit relevant parts of the JIT report’s Volume 10.

During Wajid Zia’s cross-examination, Haris alleged Accountability Court-II Judge Arshad Malik altered the statements of the prosecution’s star witness on the insistence of the NAB prosecutor. This, he added, was done during the witness’ cross-examination without providing him with an opportunity to contest the prosecutor’s assertion.

He said the judge should have listened to the NAB’s objections, taken his answer, written a new sentence instead of changing the previous one, but the judge simply changed the sentence on the NAB prosecutor’s objection. Later, he left the courtroom, saying the court made the change without listening to him.

“The learned court changed the already recorded answer given by the witness in the cross-examination by deleting the words “it is incorrect to suggest” and added another sentence as part of this witness’ statement in the form of a suggestion,” four associates of Haris stated in an application seeking adjournment till Monday to enable the defence team to avail remedy against the change.