Judge exempts ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif from attending trial

Judge exempts ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif from attending trial

The exemption was so he could visit his wife as she undergoes cancer treatment in London

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani judge has exempted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from attending his corruption trial so that he could visit his wife as she undergoes cancer treatment in London.

The temporary exemption granted by the anti-graft court in Islamabad also applies to Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, co-defendant in the case.

Sharif’s lawyer Amjad Pervez said the exemption for Sharif is for one week only, but a month for his daughter.

Sharif, his daughter and her husband Capt. (Retd) Safdar appeared in court for Wednesday’s hearing in the trial on corruption charges stemming from documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm.

However, the judge declared Sharif’s two sons — also charged in the same case — as “offenders” for failing to appear in court.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court in July dismissed Sharif from office for concealing assets.

The AC judge Mohammad Bashir announced the judgment in petitions filed by the former prime minister and his daughter seeking exemption from the hearing.

The three appeared before the court along with their legal team amid tight security arrangements.

Nawaz Sharif had stated in his plea that he wanted to visit his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who was in London for cancer treatment. He requested the court to grant him a week’s exemption from the hearing from November 20.

The counsel for Nawaz, Khawaja Harris, contended that a representative of his client Zaafir Khan would appear on behalf of Nawaz.

Maryam stated that whenever the court summoned her, she would attend. She said her legal representative Jahangir Jadoon would attend the court proceeding on her behalf in case she had to go abroad.

However, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor initially opposed the exemption request, saying court proceedings would be affected in their absence.

After hearing arguments from both sides the court later granted the exemption.

Two witnesses of NAB, including Sidra Mansoor from the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and Jahangir Ahmad from the Federal Board of Revenue, also appeared before the accountability court to record their statements.

Mansoor stated that she had provided an audit report of the Hudaibiya Papers Mills from 2000 to 2005 to NAB Lahore on August 18.

The Defense Counsel Khawaja Harris raised objections over the documents provided by the witness. He said the witness had submitted unverified documents that did not even have a stamp and file covers of the company concerned.

The court summoned four more witnesses to testify and adjourned the hearing of the case until November 22.

The court also postponed the matter of the continuous non-appearance of the sons of Nawaz, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, until the next hearing.

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