ISLAMABAD - While accepting an application of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif challenging the alleged alteration in prosecution’s star witness Wajid Zia’s statement in Al-Azizia reference case, a Division Bench of the Islamabad High Court Tuesday directed Accountability Court to place objections of defense counsel on record.

The DB 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 directed the AC judge to record the objections of the counsel.

In the application, Sharif’s counsel accused Wajid Zia – the head of Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) – of changing his statement during cross-examination before the Accountability Court (AC) 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 Nawaz’s legal team to cross-examine Wajid Zia again.

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

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

He said that the judge should have listened to NAB’s objection, 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 that the court made the change without listening to him.

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