The accountability court of Islamabad on Monday turned down an application seeking a seven-day exemption from personal appearance for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield Properties reference.
The accountability judge, however, allowed their absence for a couple of days and directed the father-daughter duo to appear before the court on Wednesday.
Sharif and his daughter were seeking an exemption from appearance in the Avenfield reference, which is likely to conclude by Tuesday. The court has already summoned star prosecution witness Wajid Zia for cross-examination in the Al-Azizia reference tomorrow.
The exemption plea for the Sharif family was filed by their counsel Saad Hashmi and Amjad Pervez.
Arguing before the court, Advocate Hashmi and Advocate Pervez informed the court that the former premier and Maryam had travelled to London on June 14, 2018, for the purpose of tending to ailing Kulsoom Nawaz, who is suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment there.
Advocate Hashmi contended that upon arrival in London, Sharif was “informed that his wife had suffered a cardiac arrest; that she had been put on a life-supporting ventilator; that she had been shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU); and that she was in a very critical condition”.
Subsequently, Sharif moved an application for exemption from personal attendance on June 19 and the court granted the exemption until June 23. Owing to Kulsoom's deteriorating condition, a second application for exemption was filed by the applicant on June 25 and the court subsequently granted the same for three days.
Referring to the former first lady's medical report dated June 22, the counsel stated that she had suffered and is suffering from: a cardio-respiratory collapse with confirm pulmonary thromboembolic disease; cardiogenic shock with multiple organ failure including respiratory and renal failure; and malnutrition and re-feeding syndrome.
He said both Sharif and his daughter had intended to return to Pakistan on June 27 as it was expected that by this date his wife would have sufficiently recovered so as to be able to communicate with the applicant and he would thereby be in a position to sufficiently put her mind at rest as well as his own before returning to Pakistan. However, the continuing critical condition of his wife has prevented him from returning to the country for the time being.
Hashmi informed the court that the medical report of June 27 once again confirms that the applicant’s wife is dependent on a ventilator. The report further says "last week it did look as if she might be able to be weaned, [but] her respiratory indices deteriorated and she has required pressure control ventilation".
The counsel argued that the doctors who are treating Sharif's wife are hopeful that she will be able to recover sufficiently during the current week for him to be able to communicate with her. Kulsoom's family members will be informed of her progress on a daily basis by the doctors.
The counsel was seeking an exemption for Sharif and Maryam from July 02 to July 09. The prosecution, on the other hand, opposed the plea.
Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi and Afzal Qureshi, both additional deputy prosecutor generals of the National Accountability Bureau, argued that since there is an improvement in Kulsoom's health condition, and other family members including both of Sharif's sons were already with their ailing mother, the court should not grant them further exemption.
After hearing all arguments, the accountability judge granted a two-day exemption and asked the ex-prime minister and his daughter to join the proceedings by Wednesday.