–Deposed PM hires head of PML-N legal team Jahangir Jadoon to defend him in graft references
–Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz skips hearing, gets June 19 deadline for final arguments
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on Thursday left for a week-long trip to London, where they will spend time with Nawaz’s ailing wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, as the deposed premier appointed hired Jahangir Jadoon to represent him in the references filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after Khawaja Harris and his team recused themselves from the case on Monday.
According to reports, the father-daughter duo boarded a Qatar Airlines flight from Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport and landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Thursday evening.
In London, they will spend Eidul Fitr with Kulsoom and also consult doctors regarding her health.
Maryam took to Twitter before boarding her flight, asking her followers for special prayers for her mother, claiming that she would return to Pakistan in a week’s time.
The two Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, both of whom are facing corruption charges in an accountability court, were allowed to leave the country despite a request by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to put their names on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Their visit was made possible after a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, on Sunday had allowed Nawaz and Maryam to take a break and visit Kulsoom in London.
On Wednesday, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb had confirmed that the two leaders were set to leave for London but would “surely return” to the country.
JADOON TO DEFEND NAWAZ:
Earlier in the week, Nawaz’s lawyer Khawaja Harris had announced his decision to withdraw from representing the former PM in the graft references during the hearing of Al-Azizia reference.
The Supreme Court ‘dictated on completing the trial within a month’ and asked me to work on the weekends, said Harris while recusing himself from the case.
Jadoon has represented Nawaz in multiple cases and also heads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) legal wing. Maryam Nawaz and husband Safdar’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz was not present in court citing ill-health.
Judge Muhammad Bashir then gave Pervaiz till June 19 to present his final arguments and adjourned the hearing.
Jadoon submitted the power of attorney in all three references, taking over from Harris. He hoped former counsel of Nawaz will take over as Nawaz has been trying to convince him.
Over the course of the hearing, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi expressed reservations over the absence of Maryam’s counsel. He argued that Jadoon should present the arguments instead; however, Jadoon replied he was only submitting Maryam and Nawaz’s exemption plea for the hearing.
On June 10, the SC granted another four weeks to the accountability court to wrap up the proceedings in four weeks’ time. The written order stated that the verdict came after hearing arguments from both Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi [NAB’s prosecutor] and Harris on the matter. The top court further said that NAB judge Muhammad Bashir is free to fix timings for the hearings as well.
Subsequently, Harris recused himself from representing the former premier in the corruption references filed by NAB against the Sharif family.
During the proceedings, the lawyer and his team had walked out of the case, stating that they could not perform under such pressure. He had said that the top court had instructed the accountability court to wrap up the proceedings in a month and to conduct hearings on Saturday. “The court can’t do justice to the case under this pressure,” Harris had maintained.