Maryam, Safdar’s indictment postponed to Oct 19 after lawyers attempt to gatecrash court

An accountability court was forced to adjourn the proceedings in a graft case against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter and son-in-law — Maryam Nawaz and Muhammad Safdar — soon after they arrived in court, as PML-N lawyers and supporters created a racket while trying to forcibly enter the building.

Just as accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir entered the courtroom, a number of lawyers associated with the PML-N forced their way inside and surrounded the judge’s bench, loudly complaining that they had been manhandled by security forces outside the court and prevented from entering the courtroom.

The lawyers threatened to hold up the hearing until action was taken against the police officials who had allegedly manhandled them outside the court.

Maryam Nawaz outside the court premises in Islamabad. ─ DawnNews
Maryam Nawaz outside the court premises in Islamabad. ─ DawnNews

As a result of the din, Justice Bashir decided to end court proceedings for the day and asked both defendants to leave the courtroom and return for the hearing on October 19.

As she left the court, Maryam Nawaz spoke to media and asked the Interior Ministry to come up with a strategy to “keep such events from occurring in the future”.

Once PML-N supporters and lawyers found out that the hearing had been adjourned, the crowd dispersed.

Interior ministry calls for detailed report of the incident

Taking notice of the incident, the interior ministry asked the Islamabad Police to compile a detailed report of the incident.

One male and one female lawyer, as well as two female police officers and one lady constable, were injured in the scuffle outside the accountability court.

The police has recorded statements from the three injured police personnel and will file a report.

While talking to the media, PML-N’s Talal Chaudhary dismissed reports that PML-N lawyers had tried to force their way into the court, saying: “PML-N workers did noting, the incident happened due to overcrowding, that is it.”

Accountability court proceedings

On Oct 9, the accountability court in Islamabad had observed that Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar would be indicted on Oct 13 (today).

It had also ordered NAB to initiate the process of declaring Sharif’s sons — Hassan and Hussain — proclaimed offenders, for consistently skipping court proceedings in the graft references pertaining to the Park Lane flats and the establishment of offshore companies.

NAB has given them 30 days (from Oct 11) to appear in court.

During her three-day stay in Lahore, Maryam did not visit her Jati Umra residence but stayed at her son-in-law’s home on The Mall.

She did not meet party workers from NA-120, many of whom were expecting her to meet them and congratulate her for her mother’s victory in the by-election.

On Thursday, Maryam had left for Islamabad from Lahore on a special plane to appear before the trial court, along with her husband, who has recently come under fire from several quarters, including his own party, for demanding that the government ban the Ahmadi community from government and military service.

Although National Accountability Bureau Deputy Prosecutor General Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman had told Dawn that Sharif could not be indicted till he appeared in court, before today’s hearing, Sharif’s lawyer had claimed that he had the defendant’s permission to hear the court’s indictment verdict in his stead.

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