ISLAMABAD - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday that if Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had used the word ‘faryadi’ (complainant or supplicant) for Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he should not have taken it back.

Talking to the media outside the accountability court prior to the hearing of the Avenfield properties case, Sharif said that the world ‘faryadi’ used by the chief justice for a sitting prime minister did not suit his stature.

“It did not suit the chief justice to say that the prime minister visited him with a plea. It is tantamount to disgracing the office of the prime minister,” he said.

But a spokesperson for the chief justice clarified the other day that the CJP did not use the word ‘faryadi’ for the prime minister.

Public Relations Officer of Supreme Court Shahid Hussain said on Thursday that attribution of ‘faryadi’ word to Justice Saqib Nisar was completely wrong and malicious.

"Chief Justice holds the Prime Minister in high esteem, being the head of the government, and has never used the word “faryadi” for him,” the statement said. Any misgivings in this regard should, therefore, be put to rest, it added.

Earlier the same day, the CJP was reported as telling senior lawyer Latif Khosa that “PM Abbasi came to my residence to tell me his reservations but gave me nothing. My responsibility is to listen to the agonies of [a] ‘faryadi’.” He added, “Trust me and judiciary. I will not let down my department and lawyers.”

Nawaz Sharif expressed the hope that the high treason case against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf will be taken to its logical conclusion.

“The accountability should be held across the board and without any discrimination and distinction,” he said, adding that sooner or later Musharraf will have to appear in the court as things have changed in the country [as compared to the past when it was unthinkable to try a general].

Avenfield reference

The ex-PM said that as per the media reports, nothing was left in the Avenfield apartments case after the statement of Robert Hadley. He questioned why the need arose to file a supplementary reference when nothing was proved against him in the last three months.

He said that NAB’s star witness and Panama Papers JIT head Wajid Zia had ‘dismissed’ all the allegations against them and gave him and his family members a ‘clean chit’.

Nawaz said that if his conviction was the main objective then his opponents should implicate him some mega corruption scandal like those involving National Logistic Cell, Employees Old-age Benefits Institution and rental power etc so that their wish come true. “Only in this way, all this mess and drama could be taken to the logical conclusion,” he said.

To a question, he said his sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz have never been prime minister or ministers in Pakistan and corruption cases against the Sharif family was nothing new as such cases were being framed against them since 1962 when he was a schoolchild.

“Where is the corruption? If they have found any proof, why it is not being made public?” he asked.

Court hearing

Later, Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris cross-examined Joint Investigation Team head on Panama Papers Wajid Zia, who told the court that the JIT - ahead of initiating investigations on the Panama reference - analyzed the petitions and subsequent replies in the Supreme Court in connection with the London flats.

He mentioned that the Sharif family in their reply had filed a letter of Jerry Freeman, who had testified that “the content of the trust deed was correct and we [JIT] did not contact Freeman after this testament”. He informed the court that JIT had dispatched a unanimously approved questionnaire to Freeman.

Zia also informed the court that coordination with Freemen was made through a British solicitor as the JIT had decided not to engage directly with Freeman and that was why the services of a British solicitor were hired.

He said that Freeman testified that Hassan Nawaz signed on two trust deeds on January 2, 2006, and he was witness to the signatures. He said this trust-deed was about Nelson and Nescol and copies of both these trust deeds were available in the office of Freeman.

Haris asked Zia if they had requested Freeman to visit Pakistan along with all subsequent documents and evidence to record his statement. He replied in negative.

During the cross-examination, the defence lawyer also asked JIT head to tell, in light of their investigation, when the Gulf Steel Mills was established in Dubai. He replied that according to their investigation and subsequent documents and evidence, Gulf Steel was established in 1978.

When Harris asked did the JIT testify the contract of 1978’s share sale, Zia replied that the contract was not testified.

Haris remarked “if you (JIT) had not testified, it means the JIT acknowledges the content of the contract as correct”. Zia replied in affirmation.

The defendants’ counsel also asked if the JIT also contacted the owner of Halli Steel Mills, established on April 14, 1980.

“Did the JIT coordinate with Abdul Wahab, a witness of the contract of this agreement,” he asked. To which, Zia said that the JIT did not contact him, and they instead contacted witness No 2, Muhammad Akram, but he was not available at the given address.

Zia also informed the court that in accordance with the 1980 agreement, 25 percent amount was received in cash and the agreement was notarised by Pakistan’s diplomatic mission. On this, Haris asked if the JIT contacted Councilor of Pakistan embassy Mansoor Hussain. Zia replied that the JIT did not contact him.

To another question he informed that the JIT also did not contact Abdullah - who had paid the cash. Zia also said that it was not in his notice that Abdullah Quaid’s son Abdul Rehman, the buyer of Gulf Steel Mills, had given any statement about purchasing the steel mills and delivering the subsequent amount.

Earlier, Zia informed the court that neither any member of the JIT visited the UAE nor they wrote to any bank there to seek the record of 12 million dirham transactions.

The hearing on Avenfield reference was adjourned till Monday.