The Avenfield reference trial against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and members of his family has entered its final phase as the accountability court of Islamabad on Tuesday decided to issue questionnaires to the accused on Wednesday (today).

The court has decided to initiate the process under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in which the accused is given an opportunity to defend himself/herself before issuance of the final verdict.

Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir will formulate questionnaires for Mr Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar as an advanced intimation to their statements under Section 342 of the CrPC.

Head of the prosecution Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had requested the court that because all the prosecution witnesses in the Avenfield properties reference had testified before the court and had also been cross-examined, therefore it was necessary to proceed under Section 342 of the CrPC.

The counsel for the Sharif family, however, insisted that the court should initiate the process after recording of testimony of all the prosecution witnesses in the other two references, about Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment.