Khawaja Haris resumes representing Nawaz in corruption cases

Khawaja Haris resumes representing Nawaz in corruption cases

ISLAMABAD: Khawaja Haris , former prime minister Nawaz Sharif 's lawyer in the three corruption cases against him, resumed his role as lead counsel on Tuesday after previously recusing himself from the case.

As Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir started hearing the three National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references against the Sharif family, he inquired from Haris if he was in court to withdraw his request ending his power of attorney for Nawaz.

“First, I have to file another petition. I have a right to know whether the court will hear the three cases simultaneously or separately,” Haris responded.

To this, the accountability court judge said Haris’ request last week to withdraw the power of attorney was never accepted in the first place.

However, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi pointed out, “We did not even object and the request was dismissed.”

Haris then requested the prosecution "to coordinate with each other and try our best to not pull each other's legs".

"There is a law for everything. The Supreme Court asked us to work on Saturdays as well and under what law does that fall?" Nawaz's counsel questioned. 

At this point, Jahangir Jadoon, who was appointed in Haris' place, told the court, "People are asking why the court is not announcing a judgment."

Judge Bashir responded saying, "The court follows a procedure and on my behalf tell those people that why are they commenting [on the case] when they are not respondents."

Haris then resumed presenting final arguments in the Avenfield case before the hearing was adjourned until tomorrow. 

Nawaz, Maryam exempted from appearing. 

Moreover, the counsels of Nawaz and his daughter, Maryam, submitted appearance exemption requests today seeking a pardon from appearance of their clients for a week. 

The court, however, accepted the plea for four days only and adjourned the hearing of the Avenfield case until tomorrow. 

The former premier and his daughter are in London to tend to Nawaz's wife Begum Kulsoom who is under treatment there.

Haris had recused himself from representing Nawaz on June 11.

Among other reasons for the decision, he had said the Supreme Court "dictated on completing the trial within a month" and asked him to work on weekends.

On June 14, Nawaz had hired Jahangir Jadoon to represent him in the NAB references.

The cases:

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the accountability court after NAB filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court 's verdict in the Panama Papers case.

The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.

The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Limited, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz and sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.

The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court. 

Later, the deadline was extended twice more, with the new date falling at July 10 now.


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