LAHORE: On Saturday, the defence lawyer cross-examined two prosecution witnesses in relation to money laundering and illicit properties against the family of Shehbaz Sharif, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.
During the cross-examination, when defence lawyer Amjad Pervez asked Punjab Assembly Assistant Secretary Faisal Bilal, a prosecution witness, about his work, a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor raised an objection. The issue was insignificant, the prosecutor said.
Chief Judge Jawadul Hassan, however, overruled the opposition and ordered the lawyer to resume the cross-examination.
Bilal said he had joined the inquiry once to record his testimony before the investigating officer, in response to the defence questions. He acknowledged that the papers related to the wages and benefits of Mr. Sharif and his son Hamza, the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, submitted before the court had not been authenticated.
He said he had directly checked the duo’s record of income and benefits from 1993 to 2020. He could not remember the exact year of Hamza Shehbaz’s first tenure as an MPA, however.
The judge ordered the NAB to provide the assembly’s certified database of payments paid to the two defendants as members of parliament.
A second witness, Tayyab Zawaar Bokhari, deputy director of the election commission, also cross-examined the defence lawyer, and the judge adjourned the trial until December 16 for the cross-examination of further witnesses.
The judge had allowed Mr. Sharif to take a seat during the cross-examination, at the behest of the defence, as he was unable to stand for a long time due to a backache.
Jail Superintendent Ijaz Asghar filed Mr. Sharif’s physiotherapy report and informed the court that in view of the court’s order, all the medical facilities needed had been given to the suspect.
The opposition leader supported the declaration of the superintendent, but urged the court to form a medical board for the care of his “unbearable” backache, often consisting of his own physicians.
The judge ordered the leader of the opposition to first file an application with the government.
Shehbaz Sharif also spoke to his elder brother, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and son Suleman over the phone during the proceedings.
In this scenario, Nusrat, Shehbaz’s wife, Suleman’s son, Rabia Imran’s daughter, and Haroon Yousaf’s son-in-law, were already proclaimed absconders for preventing their presence in the proceedings.