Preparations underway in Adiala to house high-profile inmate, claims Nawaz

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Islamabad, Apr 11: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday claimed that preparations are underway at Adiala Jail to house a high-profile prisoner and questioned how jail authorities would have prior knowledge.

Speaking with the media inside the court during the Avenfield reference hearing, the Nawaz also alleged that the Supreme Court (SC) had ordered the accountability courts to wrap up cases pertaining to Panama papers and also announce a strict punishment.

“Adiala Jail is being cleaned up as if to welcome someone, how do they know someone’s coming?” questioned Nawaz.

Lauding his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, days after the ruling party witnessed the defection of eight lawmakers from south Punjab, Nawaz said the chief executive of the province had worked tirelessly for the region. He added that those who talk of a new province in south Punjab, left for reasons beyond the creation of a new administrative area.

During the informal talk with journalists, the deposed premier also spoke of his talk with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi regarding relaxation of National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) laws before the general elections.

“I’ve spoken to Prime Minister Abbasi about relaxing NAB laws on politicians so they don’t pressure them prior to elections,” Nawaz said.

Recently, rumours that Adiala Jail is preparing for a high-profile prisoner have been making rounds.

The focus of Haris’ cross-examination of Wajid Zia on Wednesday was the constitution of the JIT, with the session beginning with questions pertaining to JIT member Bilal Rasool.

“Did it come to your notice that Rasool’s wife was the PML-Q nominee for the provincial elections of 2013 or that she is an ardent supporter of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)?” asked the defence counsel, to which Zia replied in the negative.

The next JIT member under discussion was Amer Aziz, currently Managing Director of the National Institute of Banking and Finance in Islamabad (NIBF). “Did you know that Hammad Azher, Amer’s son, met with Imran Khan at Bani Gala on April 29, 2017?” Zia replied in the negative but acknowledged that Amer was serving in NIBF.

“Amer’s deputation as a banking specialist came during the Musharraf regime and he was also part of the investigation team formed to investigate Hudaibiya Paper Mills in 2000,” Zia added.

At this, NAB’s special prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi raised an objection and questioned the relevance of the probe. “They have not challenged the constitution of the JIT,” he argued. “Tell us where we welcomed the constitution,” Haris shot back. “Scandalous questions are being asked here,” Abbasi argued.

“Six days were taken to record Zia’s statement but you are questioning every question I ask,” Haris retorted.

The cross-questioning then focused Irfan Naeem Mangi, who represents NAB.

“Did it come to your notice that there was an SC order which referred a committee to probe Mangi’s earlier appointment which is still pending,” Haris questioned. “It has come to my knowledge that there were some disciplinary proceedings regarding his appointment, however, I don’t recall if they were initiated on the orders of SC,” Zia replied.

Haris’ last question pertained to Brigadier (retd) Nauman Saeed, who represented tInter-Servicesces Intelligence (ISI) in the investigation team.

“Did you know that Saeed was not a regular employee of the intelligence agency,” Haris asked.

“This did not come to my notice during or prior to the investigation,” Zia responded, and Haris concluding his 10-day-long cross-examination.

Maryam Nawaz’s counsel, Amjad Parvez, will now take the floor and initiate his probe.

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