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A Pakistani court on Friday reserved its decision on a plea filed by former and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, requesting a seven-day delay in the announcement of the verdict in the Avenfield corruption case.
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir was slated to announce the verdict today, however, the ousted PM and his daughter filed an application with a duty judge on Thursday, seeking a seven-day delay in the judgement in the wake of the health of Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing treatment for cancer in London.
Nawaz was recently put on ventilator and her condition remains more or less unchanged. A report on the same was attached to the application submitted to the court.
Upon receiving the application, duty judge Mohammad Arshad issued notices to the prosecution wing of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and left it up to Judge Bashir to take a call on the request by the Sharif family.
However, Additional Deputy Prosecutor General (NAB) Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi opposed the father-daughter’s application. Abbasi said, “At a stage when the court concludes the trial and fixes a date for the final announcement, the accused cannot file application for any relief.” He pointed out that “when the court concludes the arguments, the accused is put on notice and under the law he should be brought to court, or the court orders the accused to ensure attendance. ”
In a rebuttal, defence counsel Advocate Amjad Pervez said, “There is a legal requirement that the accused person should be summoned at the time of announcement of judgement and in this case, Mr Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz both are ready to attend proceedings, but because of Kulsoom Nawaz’s illness, they have requested that the judgement may be postponed for a few days.”
To this, Judge Bashir said, “Give me an hour at least.” Subsequently, the court reserved its decision on the plea for an hour.
What is the Avenfield corruption case?
The court case against the former PM and his daughter revolves around four upscale London flats in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, that the Sharifs claimed to have bought through legitimate means. However, the NAB has alleged the family has been unable to explain how it paid for them.
In July last, Sharif was forced to step down after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income. The veteran leader continues to maintain his grip on the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
Sharif, 67, resigned in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income, but the veteran leader maintains his grip on the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
The proceeding in the Avenfield reference began in September and the accountability court indicted Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar on October 19.
Kulsoom Nawaz’s health
According to medical reports in the media, Kulsoom is currently ventilator dependent. “Whilst last week it did look as if she might be able to [be] weaned, her respiratory indices deteriorated and she has required pressure control ventilation,” a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon said.
“I want to hear this judgement while standing in the courtroom, amidst my people [and] holding them as witnesses,” Nawaz said in the application to the court.
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