Maryam, Safdar’s indictment suspended until Oct 19 due to lawyers’ racket

The accountability court adjourned the hearing of graft cases against the Sharif family soon after ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter and son-in-law — Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Safdar — arrived in court, as PML-N lawyers and supporters created a racket while trying to enter the courtroom.

Just as accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir entered the courtroom, a number of lawyers associated with the PML-N forced their way into the court and surrounded the judge’s bench, claiming that they were 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 that had allegedly manhandled them outside the court.

As a result of the racket, Judge 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 premises, Maryam Nawaz spoke to the media and asked the Interior Ministry to come up with a strategy to keep such events from occurring in the future.

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

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 racket outside the Judicial Complex, the interior ministry has asked Islamabad Police to compile a detailed report of the incident.

One male and one female lawyer while two female police officers and one lady constable were injured in the altercation outside the accountability court.

The police has recorded statements from the three injured police personnel.

While talking to the media, PML-N’s Talal Chaudhary dismissed reports of PML-N lawyers trying their way into the court and said, “PML-N workers did noting, the incident happened due to overcrowding, that is it.”

Accountability court proceedings

The court was expected to indict Maryam Nawaz and Capt Safdar as their case had been severed from that of Nawaz Sharif and his two sons — Hassan and Hussain Nawaz.

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.

On Thursday, Maryam left for Islamabad 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.

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

However, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman had told Dawn that Nawaz could not be indicted till he appeared in court. “Under the law a suspect cannot be charged in absentia,” he said.

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.

Maryam had left for London within hours of the announcement of the election result.

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