Accountability Court Islamabad today resumed hearing of Al Azizia Steel Mills reference against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.    

According to Radio Pakistan, Judge Muhammad Bashir is hearing the case.

Nawaz Sharif reached the court for the proceedings earlier.

Before Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia began recording his statement, Nawaz was allowed to leave the courtroom. 

As the hearing went under way, Zia informed the court of the JIT's correspondence with the UAE government regarding the Gulf Steel Mills. 

Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Haris objected saying that court precedents state that JIT reports are unacceptable as evidence. 

The hearing is under way. 

The accountability court had summoned joint investigation team head on Panama Papers, Wajid Zia, to record his statement in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference on May 10.

Judge Muhammad Bashir said another application has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking extension in the time period to complete trial against the Sharif family.

After receiving reply from SC, decision would be taken on NAB’s petition to record statements of former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and others in the Avenfield properties reference, the judge said, adding the decision on all the three references of NAB would be announced collectively.

When the accountability court resumed hearing in the Avenfield properties reference, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi informed the court of the conclusion of statements of witnesses against the accused and asked the court to fix a date for recording the statements of the accused.

Sharif’s counsel, Khawaja Harris, opposing the argument, said it would be done by the court as the NAB could not direct the trial court to do so.

“The court should first record the statement of JIT head Wajid Zia in two references,” Harris said, adding the court had already asked Zia to record his statement in the remaining two references.

Abbasi said that after recording the statements of the prosecution witnesses, as per the law, it was compulsory to record the statements of the accused in the Avenfield properties reference.

Harris suggested the Supreme Court should grant three more months to finalise the case. The trial court judge said the Supreme Court could decide on the grant of further time.

Amjad Pervez, counsel for Maryam Nawaz, said it is prerequisite for a fair trial that his client should be given as much time as was allowed to the prosecution, adding it took eight months for 18 witnesses.