Accountability court adjourns hearing of remaining references till July 30

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looks out the window of his plane. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of the remaining two corruption references against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif till July 30 as the defence counsel refused to participate in the trial till the Islamabad High Court (IHC) passes its judgement on a petition pertaining to transferring the case to another court.

The objections were raised by Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris and the court ordered the adjournment of the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Nawaz and sons, Hussain and Hassan.

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“Justice must not only be delivered, it must be visible,” the lawyer said, adding that they won’t be part of the proceedings until the decision on the trial transfer comes out. NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said that there is no stay order on moving forth with the trial and it would be appropriate that the same judge who heard the entire case also takes the remaining references.

Haris also informed the court that despite multiple attempts made over the last two days, access to the former premier was not granted and claimed that the purpose of the trial being conducted within jail premises is to ensure that no one can see or hear Nawaz before elections. Nawaz’s counsel also raised objections to Judge Mohammad Bashir commencing the hearing.

The judge informed the counsels that little has been written to the high court for a transfer. Haris further said that no prosecutor from NAB was present in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday for the crucial hearing.

“What will be the procedure for the defendant lawyer, witnesses and judge to go to jail?” the judge inquired. Haris said that such decisions should’ve been taken after taking all stakeholders in confidence.

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Abbasi argued that the notification, published in the Gazette of Pakistan, cannot be tackled by the defence. On the matter that Haris was unable to reach Nawaz, Abbasi stated that Adiala jail has a very peaceful and comfortable environment and open trials have been conducted before. Abbasi further said that the media would have due permission to cover it. (Tribune)