News Analysis |
The ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has once again complained that his basic rights, as a citizen of Pakistan, were being violated. The elder Sharif also re-stated that “his trial is an evidence of oppression and injustice’ against his family.
Nawaz was addressing a press conference in Lahore, on Monday, when he complained that his fundamental rights were being violated “as no lawyer will take up a case where he is not even allowed time to prepare and is asked to appear even on the weekends.”
The SC, however, is not interested in giving more time to the accountability court and prolonging the matter without any conceivable reason.
Nawaz spoke to media after his legal counsel Khawaja Haris recused himself from the references being heard against the Sharifs.
Nawaz’s legal counsel decision came after the Supreme Court of Pakistan asked: “the accountability court to speed up its proceedings and hear the case, even if it meant holding court on weekends.” While commenting on the SC’s direction, former PM said, “Does the chief justice not know that justice rushed is justice crushed?”
Nawaz Sharif also said that no lawyer was willing to take up his case since it was not an easy task to appear before the accountability court every day, and even on the weekends. Sharif complained that “even if he is able to find a new lawyer, it would not be possible for him to resume his defence on Wednesday as there were thousands of pages attached with the case in addition to the statements of over 60 witnesses.”
“This last episode of the game that began with the Panama [Papers] is an extremely unfortunate example of oppression and injustice,” Nawaz further said.
Nawaz Sharif also feared that the court was interested in concluding the case before elections, at any cost. This is what will, Nawaz argued, hurt his fundamental rights.
“I do not know whether my right to defence is more important or that the decision is given before the election is. Are the standards of law and justice more important or a decision before the elections? Are the fundamental rights of a Pakistani citizen important or a decision before the elections?” he asked.
Sharif complained that “even if he is able to find a new lawyer, it would not be possible for him to resume his defence on Wednesday as there were thousands of pages attached with the case in addition to the statements of over 60 witnesses.”
He also made a comment and asked the court to give its decision if it was certain to decide the case before the general elections. “If it is necessary or compulsory to arrive at a decision regarding me before July 25, then make the decision. If it is this way, then this is tantamount to tearing apart law, justice, fundamental rights and fundamental human rights,” he said.
Deadlines to complete trial against Sharifs:
The third deadline to complete the trial against Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law in corruption references lapsed on 9 June, and the SC gave one more month to complete the case.
In March 2018, the SC granted a two-month extension to the accountability court to complete the proceedings. When the trial could not be completed in the stipulated time despite day-to-day hearings, the SC granted one more month to decide the references.
The accountability court is hearing final arguments in the Avenfield properties reference.
The Sharifs, who fear to lose the case, want to prolong it till the general elections. The general elections are scheduled to be held on 25 July 2018. The SC, however, is not interested in giving more time to the accountability court and prolonging the matter without any conceivable reason. Nawaz Sharif has, on the other hand, political interests to delay the trial. The next government – if belonging to the PML-N or PPP – will likely offer him some concession. He, therefore, wants a delay in the process by using different tactics.