Court adjourns graft cases hearing against Sharifs amid PML-N lawyers and supporters’ rumpus

 
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NAB officials said that they were manhandled by the lawyers inside the court and the head of their prosecution team, Sardar Muzaffar, was pushed from the dais.

ISLAMABAD: Oct 13 (TNS): The accountability court adjourned the hearing of graft cases against the Sharif family soon after ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter and son-in-law — Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Safdar — arrived in court, as PML-N lawyers and supporters created a racket while trying to enter the courtroom.

Just as accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir entered the courtroom, a number of lawyers associated with the PML-N forced their way into the court and surrounded the judge’s bench, claiming that they were manhandled by security forces outside the court and prevented from entering the courtroom.

The lawyers threatened to hold up the hearing until action was taken against the police officials that had allegedly manhandled them outside the court.

As a result of the racket, Judge Bashir decided to end court proceedings for the day and asked both defendants to leave the courtroom and return for the hearing on October 19.

The ruling party’s lawyers were trying to enter the court premises to witness the proceedings when they were denied an entry by police in wake of stringent security measures, this led to a brawl with security guards.

According to police officials, they had been given a task to deny entry to any unwarranted person into the court room other than the prosecutor and Sharif family members. The security measures were taken to ward off any untoward incident, the officials added.

The anti-graft watchdog officials claimed to be manhandled by the lawyers inside the courtroom. The head of NAB prosecution team, Sardar Muzaffar, was pushed and shoved during the incident.

NAB officials said that they were manhandled by the lawyers inside the court and the head of their prosecution team, Sardar Muzaffar, was pushed from the dais.

As Maryam Nawaz left the court premises, she spoke to the media and asked the Interior Ministry to come up with a strategy to keep such events from occurring in the future.

Once PML-N supporters and lawyers found out that the hearing had been adjourned, the crowd dispersed.

The court was expected to indict Maryam Nawaz and Capt Safdar as their case had been severed from that of Nawaz Sharif and his two sons — Hassan and Hussain Nawaz.

Although National Accountability Bureau Deputy Prosecutor General Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman had told that Sharif could not be indicted till he appeared in court, before today’s hearing, Sharif’s lawyer had claimed that he had the defendant’s permission to hear the court’s indictment verdict in his stead.

On Thursday, Maryam left for Islamabad on a special plane to appear before the trial court, along with her husband, who has recently come under fire from several quarters, including his own party for demanding that the government ban the Ahmadi community from government and military service.

On Oct 9, the accountability court in Islamabad observed that Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar would be indicted on Oct 13 (today).

However, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman had told that Nawaz could not be indicted till he appeared in court. “Under the law a suspect cannot be charged in absentia,” he said.

It had also ordered NAB to initiate the process of declaring Sharif’s sons — Hassan and Hussain — proclaimed offenders, for consistently skipping court proceedings in the graft references pertaining to the Park Lane flats and the establishment of offshore companies.

NAB has given them 30 days (from Oct 11) to appear in court.

During her three-day stay in Lahore, Maryam did not visit her Jati Umra residence but stayed at her son-in-law’s home on The Mall.

She did not meet party workers from NA-120, many of whom were expecting her to meet them and congratulate her for her mother’s victory in the by-election.

Maryam had left for London within hours of the announcement of the election result.