News Analysis |
Judge Mohammad Bashir, of the Accountability Court, today was again forced to delay the indictment of Maryam Nawaz and her husband, Capt. Safdar due to raucous scenes created by PMLN lawyers inside and outside the court. Nawaz Sharif, ex-premier, who was also to be indicted today did not turn up in the court. Next court date is now October 19, however given the repeat history of ugly scenes, violence, and political agitation the future of this corruption case against Sharif family is becoming uncertain.
In addition to these repeat scenes of violence, TV Channels are reporting that Nawaz Sharif, who is still in London, is now approaching Supreme Court with a petition demanding that NAB be ordered that all three references, against Sharif family, be clubbed together into one single reference. However legal experts argue that this is on frivolous grounds and merely another attempt to delay the NAB court proceedings and makes it obvious that Sharif family wants to frustrate and stop the hearings of the corruption case in Accountability Court, at all costs. Supreme Court of Pakistan, in its July 28 decision, had ordered NAB to complete its proceedings within six months.
Earlier, the PML-N lawyers and workers collided with police and FC officials deployed on security at the Judicial Complex and tried to force their way in. They were heard shouting, “we will not allow proceedings to go ahead today”. When Judge Mohammad Bashir arrived lawyers surrounded him and protested that security guards had mistreated them and stopped them from entering the court.
This is the second event of ugly raucousness or political agitation centered around the court proceedings. First happened on Nawaz Sharif’s initial appearance on Sept 26, when lawyers and workers barged into the court room in large numbers and ugly scenes of rowdiness and charged sloganeering took place inside the court. Judge Mohammad Bashir, then reacted by postponing the proceedings to Oct 2, and ordered that only limited number of people would come into court through prior registration.
However on Oct 2, when Rangers deployed to protect court, stopped PMLN ministers and media persons, who were not on the Entry List, to enter the court room the Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal, turned that into an issue of “Civilian Supremacy”. On Monday 9 October, when Maryam and Safdar finally turned in the court, PML-N workers attacked the vehicles of NAB officials which brought Nawaz’s son-in-law to the NAB court.
Judge Bashir has asked the Inspector General Police (IGP) Islamabad, to launch an inquiry into the events of rowdiness and violence today.
The accountability court is trying Nawaz Sharif, Maryam, Capt Safdar, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz in corruption references. Three references are being heard related to transactions of 16 companies including FZE Capital, Hill Metal Establishment and Al Azizia Steel Mills Jeddah. Nawaz Sharif was disqualified for not declaring his chairmanship of FZE Capital, based in UAE.
On Monday, October 2, due to the non-appearance of Nawaz Sharif’s sons, daughter and son in law, the accountability court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for former premier’s sons, Hassan and Hussain, Captain Safdar and a bailable warrant for Maryam Nawaz. On Monday, October 9 Maryam after her court hearing said that her brothers were not Pakistani residents and not bound to laws of Pakistan. She again repeated the same stand today, arguing that her brothers will decide for themselves whether they would come or not. Sources familiar with the situation claim that brothers have been advised by their own British lawyers in London that they should stay away from the court proceedings in Pakistan because outcome may adversely affect their assets in UK.
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) October 11, 2017
On Thursday Captain Safdar had approached Islamabad High Court asking it to delay the indictment hearings, in Accountability Court, that were due to be held today. His petition was rejected.
Opposition parties, have complained that justice will never be served as the Sharif family and its supporters do everything to ensure that the court will never be allowed to go ahead and indict them. They have described today’s events as an old technique of the Sharifs, in which they intimidate courts, through physical violence by PML-N workers and supporters. The reference was to the 1997 storming of the Supreme Court by PML-N supporters.
PML N Gullu Butts disrupt Accountability Court. Attacking judges and courts is their hallmark. Shame on you Sharifs . We stand by judiciary
— Jahangir Khan Tareen (@JahangirKTareen) October 13, 2017
Sherry Rehman, PPP party denounced the PML-N threat tactics and claimed they wanted to became political martyrs.
Legal experts argue that the Sharif family has devised a strategy in which they individually appear before the accountability courts on separate dates. However, if all accused are not present in the court simultaneously than all the prerequisites of an indictment will not be completed, hence, forcing the court to split the one case of corruption against all concerned into many separate cases.