ISLAMABAD - An accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday rejected objections of former premier Nawaz Sharif regarding filing a supplementary reference by the NAB in connection with the Avenfield properties reference and summoned witnesses to record their statements on February 2.

The former premier, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar were present in the courtroom when the trial court took up the corruption cases against them.

Defence counsel Khawaja Haris, raising objections to the supplementary reference in connection with the Avenfield properties reference, said there was nothing new in the supplementary reference and the NAB authorities had stated in the court that the supplementary reference would only be filed if the prosecution found out some new properties in the names of the accused or got something substantial against them in mutual legal assistance with other states.

He contended since there was nothing new in the supplementary reference and it was contrary to the Supreme Court’s direction, the same should be dropped. He further termed it a mere victimisation campaign against Sharifs by the NAB.

The NAB deputy prosecutor, objecting to the submissions of the defence counsel, challenged the defence to point out anything which had been repeated in the supplementary reference. He contended the supplementary reference was based on totally new facts the NAB had traced against the Sharif family.

Amjad Pervaiz advocate, representing Maryam Nawaz, objected to implicating his client as the beneficial owner of those properties which were not included in the main Avenfield properties reference and sought to drop the charges against her.

The court, after hearing the arguments from both the sides, rejected all the objections against the supplementary reference and called the witnesses to record their statements on February 2.

The new witnesses in the supplementary reference are based in London and one of them is a nephew of JIT head Wajid Zia. These witnesses would record their statements through a video link.

After the court hearing, Sharif briefly talked to the media and said he was facing trial everywhere, in the NAB court, the high court and the Supreme Court, asking the journalists to find the reasons behind opening up of these cases against them. According to him, he was at a loss to understand the motives behind these cases.

Answering questions, Maryam Nawaz said the former premier had been made the principal accused in the supplementary reference. She said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan must be asked who had informed him about their conviction in a month.

She was also critical of her family media trial and questioned in case they failed to prove their case even through the supplementary reference, who would be held responsible for the ongoing ‘vilification campaign’ against them.