ISLAMABAD: The conclusion of trial of references and pronouncement of judgments against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif is bound to drag beyond the July 25 general elections because of his counsel Khawaja Haris’ recusal to continue as his lawyer, legal brains firmly believe.
The advocate’s reaction that he conveyed to the accountability court was the consequence of the Supreme Court’s latest direction that the three references should be decided in one month, the third extension to wrap up the cases, saying that the accused and the nation is undergoing mental stress and agony.
“There is no doubt that after Khawaja Haris’ recusal, the references would further linger on. It is quite obvious that the new counsel would require time to prepare. The Supreme Court’s direction to speed up the trial is not justified because it will affect the whole case. This will also create an impression that the defendants are being victimized and are to be convicted in any case,” renowned lawyer Abid Hassan Minto told The News when contacted.
Another senior advocate, Akram Chaudhry, told this correspondent that the case will definitely drag due to Haris’ walkout. “The new counsel will seek time that the accountability court judge will have to give to prepare. He will need to go through voluminous record.”
The lawyer said that it was a normal practice that the judges grant time to the new counsel if the attorneys previously representing parties refuse to continue. He believed that Haris’ refusal may be intended to delay the trial.
Khawaja Haris told the accountability judge that it was not possible for him to pursue these cases under such pressure and expressed his inability to work on Saturdays and Sundays — which are official weekly court holidays. “I spend the weekend preparing arguments which is why I would not be able to continue with the case if court proceedings are held on Saturdays.”