Sharif seeks one week delay in verdict on 1st corruption case
Islamabad, Jul 5: Embattled former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif today requested the accountability court hearing corruption cases against him and his family to delay by a week the announcement of the verdict in one of the four cases against him.
The counsel for the Sharif family submitted applications in the accountability court seeking a week’s delay in the announcement of the verdict in the Avenfield corruption case — scheduled to be announced tomorrow.
In the identical applications compiled on behalf of Sharif and his daughter, Maryam, the counsel cited the poor health of Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of the former premier, who is hospitalised in London, as the reason for the family’s bid to have the verdict postponed.
A medical report attached with the petition says that Kulsoom was seriously ill.
Kulsoom was diagnosed with throat cancer last year and was shifted to the UK for further medical treatment. Since then, Maryam and Sharif have made several trips back and forth from London to attend the hearings and tend to the ailing Kulsoom.
Mohammad Bashir, the accountability court judge who is hearing the corruption references against the Sharif family, was on leave today in order to write the court’s judgement in the Avenfield case.
In his absence, duty judge Mohammad Arshad said he cannot accept the applications, referring the Sharifs’ counsel to the registrar accountability court. Later on, however, he received the application and issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecution.
A decision on whether the verdict can be postponed will, however, be taken by Justice Bashir after he hears the defence counsel’s argument tomorrow morning, Dawn newspaper reported.
On Tuesday, the judge had reserved the verdict in the case and ordered all the accused to be present in the court.
A day earlier, Sharif, who is still in London along with Maryam, had said he wants to hear the judgement of the case while standing in the courtroom where he “endured more than 100 hearings” with his daughter.
Sharif said Pakistan has a history of verdicts being “unnecessarily” reserved for months, hence delaying the judgement of the Avenfield case for a few days “considering an extremely sensitive matter” would not violate any requisite of justice or law.
The Avenfield case was among the four corruption cases filed against the former premier and his children by the NAB on the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case which disqualified Sharif.
The case pertains to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London.
Apart from Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar are accused in the case. Sharif’s two sons – Hasan and Hussain – also wanted in the case, have been declared proclaimed offenders owing to their no-show.