IHC may appoint pleader in Nawaz’s appeals in two cases

Published April 29, 2021
This file photo shows former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. — AFP/File
This file photo shows former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday considered appointing lawyer Khawaja Haris Ahmed as pleader for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to represent him in hearing of appeals against his conviction in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani resumed hearing of the two appeals.

Vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, and her husband retired Capt Mohammad Safdar attended the court proceedings.

Amjad Pervez, counsel for Ms Nawaz, sought the adjournment of the case since he was not able to argue on Wednesday.

Khawaja Haris is likely to be tasked with the job

Defence counsel Barrister Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha and Barrister Jahangir Jadoon requested the court to adjourn the case at least for a month due to the current Covid-19 situation in the country.

The bench adjourned the hearing till the last week of May. Justice Farooq observed that although Mr Sharif had been declared a proclaimed offender, his right of disposal of the petitions on merit remains intact.

He then asked the counsel to assist on appointment of the pleader for Mr Sharif, adding that since Mr Haris was familiar with the voluminous record he could provide valuable assistance to the court.

Justice Farooq however made it clear that the court would take a final decision on appointment of the pleader after hearing the point of view of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

There was no prosecutor present inside the courtroom when the hearing of the appeals commenced.

The bench expressed surprise and remarked that NAB was invisible. However, in the meanwhile NAB’s additional prosecutor general Jahanzeb Khan Bharwana, along with deputy prosecutor general Sardar Muzaffar Khan Abbasi and others, entered the courtroom and rushed to the rostrum.

When he started arguing, Justice Farooq suggested him to catch his breath first. The bench then asked the prosecution to assist the court on the appointment of the pleader for Mr Sharif.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2021

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