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National

June 13, 2018

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AC gives Nawaz till June 19 to hire counsel

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court Tuesday gave former prime minister and PML-N Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif till June 19 to hire a new lawyer a day after Khawaja Haris recused himself from representing him.

Haris had recused himself from representing Musharraf in all three corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the Sharif family after the Supreme Court's earlier directives to wrap up the trial within a month.

As the hearing in the Avenfield corruption reference resumed, Nawaz appeared before the court without his counsel.

Judge Muhammad Bashir asked Nawaz if he wanted to hire another counsel or continue with Haris, Nawaz answered it was not an easy decision. "A lawyer worked hard on this case for nine months; it is not an easy decision," Nawaz told the court.

He told the judge that Haris had worked hard on the case for nine months and knew its every aspect.

The judge told Nawaz Sharif that he hadn’t yet accepted Khawaja Haris’s application for dissociation from the case.

Nawaz told the court that Khawaja Haris had told the Supreme Court that he would not work on Saturdays and Sundays.

“As far as we are concerned, every day we start travelling from Lahore after taking Sehri. I have appeared before this court for more than 100 times. Now if you want to proceed in this case on 24/7 basis and is there any prior precedent in this regard?

Legal counsel for Maryam Nawaz and Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar, Amjad Pervez advocate said he personally thought that it was not possible to appoint a new counsel at this stage.

Nawaz lamented that his lawyer had informed the court of his inability to work on Saturdays and Sundays.

"Nearly hundred attendances have been marked in the case. Is this case going to be heard 24 hours a day and seven days a week?" he asked.

"Is there any similar example?" Nawaz questioned.

He told the accountability court judge, "If you want to hang me, then hang me, if you want to send me to jail, then sentence me, pass whatever judgment you desire." Is a request to visit an ailing wife a publicity stunt?”

Nawaz further asked while questioning if such statements were not 'hurtful'. "I never requested the chief justice for sympathy," he further said.

"The Supreme Court should hear this case themselves once again," Nawaz further said, adding that this was the only case against him which was 'fast-tracked'.

To this, Judge Bashir remarked, "Isn't it good that you won't have to keep appearing before court?"

“This is a very sensitive case and it is right of an accused to have a counsel of his own choice,” Amjad Pervez said.

Khawaja Haris had apprised the court about the reasons that why he was leaving this case as he felt that he would not be able to do justice to his client’s case, Pervez said.

Deputy Prosecutor General (DPG) National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said today it was fixed for final arguments in Avenfield Apartments corruption reference.

The SC has passed directions for this court and these are neither for the prosecution, nor for the defense counsel and this court has to regulate this case.

The court then asked for the SC order. The court asked Nawaz Sharif to contact Haris.

Meanwhile, the court granted exemption to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz for the June 14 hearing when Amjad Pervez will forward final arguments in Avenfield Apartments case.

Amjad Pervez also expressed reservations about working on Saturdays and Sundays. He said it was earlier decided that Haris would first present arguments in the Avenfield reference and then he would but since Haris had withdrawn his power of attorney, the situation had changed.

Later the court put off Avenfield corruption reference hearing till June 14 and in Al-Azizia case till June 19 with directions to Nawaz Sharif to either convince Khawaja Haris or arrange a new counsel.

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