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Sunday April 14, 2024

Avenfield case: Nawaz, Maryam reach London

By Faisal Kamal Pasha
June 15, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif and his daughter arrived in London as an accountability court (AC) here on Thursday granted last chance to the legal counsels for Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Safdar to forward final arguments in Avenfield apartments corruption reference on June 19.

The legal counsel for Maryam and Safdar, Muhammad Aurangzeb advocate said how the first chance could become the last chance. The AC judge Muhammad Bashir however said that it will be last chance and he would deduct the time already wasted, from the time available to the defense counsels for arguments.

Initially, when the hearing started advocate Jehangir Jadoon submitted power of attorney (Vakalatnama) on behalf of Nawaz Sharif and also filed an exemption application telling the court that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were departing for London today and could not appear before the court.

The AC judge asked advocate Jadoon to forward final arguments in Avenfield apartments’ corruption reference. To this advocate Jadoon said that he did not have instructions by his client to forward arguments and as Khawaja Haris Ahmad had withdrawn his 'Vakalatnama' from this case, his client needed more time to decide about a counsel. Advocate Jadoon said his client Nawaz Sharif on June 19 would tell the court whether Khawaja Haris would continue in this case or some other counsel would appear in his place.

The AC then asked Maryam and Safdar's counsel to forward arguments as this date was fixed for the same. To this a junior counsel to Amjad Pervez, Muhammad Aurangzeb advocate said his senior counsel has fallen ill last day maybe due to dehydration and he had been vomiting. Advocate Aurangzeb sought adjournment till next hearing in this matter.

To this National Accountability Bureau (NAB)'s Deputy Prosecutor General (DPG) Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said thedefense counsels are creating a drama to delay the adjudication of this matter. The last court hearing had adjourned in this matter and fixed this date for final arguments with the consent of the defense counsels. Now they are intentionally using delaying tactics. Khawaja Haris withdrew his 'Vakalatnama' a day before the final arguments after twice committing to give final arguments in the case, they are causing delay and misleading the court.

About Amjad Pervez, the NAB DPG said he is seeking exemption on the pretext of being sick without any medical certificate submitted before this court. The DPG said the conduct of the accused person requires no relaxation. He said the court may direct the accused himself to forward arguments in this matter on the next hearing.

At this junior counsel to Amjad Pervez, Muhammad Aurangzeb advocate objected to the use of words "drama", 'mislead' etc by the DPG. “My senior counsel couldn't appear for genuine reasons and he is calling it a 'Drama,'” he said and added that Muzaffar Abbasi always blackmails this court and it is he who has been misleading this court. Advocate Aurangzeb said Khawaja Haris is a very calculated person.

He requested the Supreme Court for a grant of six weeks which only allowed four weeks. Khawaja Sb also had an objection over working on Saturdays and Sunday's. To this, the AC judge replied that the direction of four weeks and working on Saturday's is for this court and not for the prosecution and defense.

Advocate Jehangir Jadoon said Khawaja Haris remained engaged with this case since it started in Supreme Court and he is well conversant with every aspect of this case. Any other counsel would take much time to go through the case.

The AC judge Muhammad Bashir responded that Jehangir Jadoon also remained there from the very beginning of this case and he can argue. Advocate Jadoon however said that as per instructions of his client he cannot.

The AC judge while putting off this matter till June 19 adjourned the hearing and directed the defense counsels to forward arguments on the next hearing as it would be the last chance. On June 19th, AC judge had also fixed the date for cross-examination of Wajid Zia in Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment corruption reference.