ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court, on Monday, directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to record the statement of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid and former premier Nawaz Sharif in the Toshakhana case against him, and former president Asif Ali Zardari as well as former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Accountability Court judge Muhammad Bashir while hearing the case asked the anti-graft watchdog to record the statement of Sharif.
Sharif pleader Rana Irfan and his counsel Qazi Misbah as well as pleaders of Zardari and Gilani appeared in court.
At the start of the hearing, Sharif’s lawyer requested the court to direct the NAB to record the statement of his client. To this, the judge inquired from NAB prosecutor Sohail Arif what is the problem in summoning Sharif for recording his statement.
The prosecutor replied that “the investigation officer (IO) should record the statement of Sharif, we have no problem.” Sharif’s counsel said, “Give us a questionnaire for recording the statement and we will file our reply.” The reference was filed in the absence of our client and now he has joined the proceedings, he said.
The court approved Sharif’s request to record his statement and adjourned the hearing of the case till November 30.
The NAB had filed the Toshakhana reference against Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Gillani, and others for allegedly acquiring of three vehicles including BMW 750 Li model 2004, Toyota Lexus Jeep 472 model 2007 gifted by the embassy of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and BMW 760 LI model 2008 gifted by embassy Libya and gifts from Toshakhana -an official treasury where gifts from foreign dignitaries or heads of state are deposited- in violation of rules and regulations.
The same court in June 2020, issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the former premier for not appearing before it. On September 10, 2020, Sharif was declared a proclaimed offender in the case by the accountability court and initiated the process to confiscate his properties and directed the NAB to make his arrest through Interpol.
Last month, just two days before his return to Pakistan, the court suspended Nawaz’s perpetual arrest warrants. The Accountability Court on October 19 suspended Sharif’s perpetual arrest warrant and granted bail on October 24. The court on November 10 ordered the unfreezing of the movable and immovable properties of Sharif.
The court had issued the order for confiscation of the assets in October 2020. The assets are properties including 1,650 kanals of land in Lahore, vehicles including Mercedes and Land Cruiser, and bank accounts.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023