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Nawaz, Maryam granted 4-day exemption from appearance

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday granted four-day exemption to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz from attending the hearing of corruption cases filed against them by the anti-graft watchdog.

Sharif along with his daughter is in London due to the critical condition of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who has been on life-support machines in an intensive care unit of a London hospital after she suffered a heart attack a few days back.

He submitted an application through his counsel seeking exemption from personal appearance for seven days.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir, however, granted them exemption for four days.

Earlier, Khawaja Haris, the former premier’s lawyer, moved an application in an accountability court requesting it to quash his earlier application through which he sought to recuse himself from representing the erstwhile PM in three corruption references.

The judge granted the lawyer’s request to take back his earlier decision to withdraw his power of attorney.

Advocate Haris contended the Supreme Court issued directives for taking up the NAB cases even on Saturdays. What law provides for hearing cases on Saturdays, he asked.

He said the relevant court rules stipulate for court timings and day-offs and that court cannot hear cases after court timings.

The lawyer said it takes reading of thousands of pages to prepare arguments and cross-examine a witness. If the court hears cases beyond its timing, it would be difficult for him to prepare for cases, he added.

At the outset of the hearing, he said as a lawyer it is his right to present his viewpoint. He asked the judge to explain whether he would proceed with all the three cases simultaneously or separately.

Haris said a petition seeking merger of these references is pending in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and asked how the cases can proceed until it is decided.

On June 11, he excused himself from pursuing the references after the Supreme Court directed the accountability court to wind up all three cases within 30 days and conduct hearing on a daily basis, even on Saturdays.



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