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Monday June 17, 2024

Right to defend being denied: Nawaz

By Moayyed Jafri
June 12, 2018

LAHORE: PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif on Monday said the recent conditions imposed by the court denied him the right to defend himself and were an open travesty of justice.

However, he added, if the court was helplessly compelled to force out a decision before July 25, it should go ahead but it would be in violation of law, justice, constitutional compulsions, basic rights of a civilian and judicial precedents.

Addressing a press conference in Model Town, he said his lawyer Khawaja Harris withdrew his power of attorney because the court had ordered that the case should be heard seven days a week and beyond the constraints of official timings of the court.

This, he said, is equivalent to denying the right to defend as the lawyer needs time to prepare his arguments and case as it progresses everyday, which won’t be possible under such an arrangement. “Such conditions are an open travesty and mockery of justice and in contradiction to the requirements of a fair trial.”

Nawaz said he was being denied his basic rights and added that Harris’ grounds for withdrawal were reasonable and logical. "It is impossible for a lawyer to take a case at this stage and begin arguments the next day. Such an environment is being created that I am deprived of a legal counsel as well. I would like to remind the honourable judge that ‘justice rushed is justice crushed,” he remarked.

The former prime minister said the court before which he appears had 40 other cases as well. “Does the chief Justice know what cases those are, when were they registered, what is the progress on those cases?” Nawaz questioned.

“Has any Pakistani appeared before the court over 100 times in a single case,” said Nawaz. “It is a unique case which is being tried at a NAB court while the strings are moved from the Supreme Court,” he noted.

He said the monitoring judge was the same who had ruled against him and the same judges would adjudicate the appeal. He said the three times extension had been sought, it was always from the prosecutor and it was on the record that when the court asked if the defendants were not cooperating, the prosecutor testified that respondents were cooperating fully, but the prosecution needed the extension.

The PML-N supremo also expressed his disappointment over the chief justice’s remarks that Nawaz requested to meet his sick wife just to get media attention. Nawaz said he had not once requested any leniency in judgment on compassionate basis; therefore, it was beyond his understanding that what law and code of conduct permitted Justice Nisar to make such hurtful condescending remarks.

“This is the last episode of what started as the Panama fiasco and how did an un-maintainable and redundant petition became so important,” he said. Nawaz said the people were already aware of what had been the real motivation and had the right to know more as that unfolds. “The prosecution has failed to prove beyond doubt every single one of its claims,” he recalled.

“Out of the three references, the witnesses of two have not even been yet cross-questioned, how could the result of all the three references be announced at the same time in such a short period of time,” he questioned. “Is a decision before the elections more important than the pre-requisites of ensuring law and justice?” questioned Nawaz.

He said he would once again want to highlight the mindboggling scenario where every cog of the judicial mill was being moved to protect and appease a dictator who violated the country’s Constitution twice.