A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor on Monday lashed out former premier Nawaz Sharif's counsel Khawaja Harris for "needlessly questioning" the prosecution witness regarding non-admissible documents.

"Mr Khawaja is basing his questions on documents that we [the prosecution] are not relying upon," NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar claimed during the Avenfield corruption reference hearing, adding that the cross-examination must be limited to "relevant facts".

The argument between the two lawyers occurred when Harris was cross-questioning the star prosecution witness Wajid Zia, who had been the head of the joint investigation team (JIT) which had collected evidence in the Panama Papers case on Supreme Court's orders.

Harris had questioned Zia about the international law firm Guernica, that was hired by the JIT during the investigation of Panama Papers case and had provided Nawaz's iqama as well as Capital FZE's trading license.

However, the communication with the law firm had not been included in the JIT report, neither had it been exhibited in court as evidence since it was classified as a source document.

Objecting to Harris' questioning, the NAB prosecutor during today's hearing, said that it was not legally allowed for the defence to refer to source documents during cross-questioning. He further said that Nawaz had already admitted that he had been an employee in an earlier Supreme Court hearing. The court upheld Muzaffar's argument and forbade Harris to question Zia about source documents any further.

Muzaffar further said that Harris had asked "similar questions 15 times", to which the latter replied that he had to ask the same thing in different ways "to reach the truth".

"It has been 11 days yet his [defence counsel's] cross-questioning has not come to an end," Muzaffar railed. "He does not want to get to the truth, he wants to intimidate [the witness]."

NAB references

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court on July 28 had directed NAB to file references against Nawaz and his children in six weeks in the accountability court and directed the trial court to decide the references within six months.

The Supreme Court also assigned Justice Ijazul Ahsan a supervisory role to monitor the progress of the accountability court proceedings.

The former premier and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all three NAB references, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield reference.

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