- Application seeking former premier’s exemption cites his mental and physical health, personal commitments as reasons
ISLAMABAD: The accountability court hearing corruption references against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family on Monday approved a three-day exemption for the former premier from appearance on account of Kulsoom Nawaz’s death.
Defence counsel Khawaja Haris submitted the application seeking his client’s exemption from personal appearance in the Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment reference hearing.
The application stated two reasons for seeking the exemption—demise of former first lady Kulsoom Nawaz, which had affected Nawaz’s mental and physical health, while citing Nawaz’s personal commitment as second reason for not appearing before the court.
The application stated: “The applicant has been inundated by visits from his relatives and well-wishers from all over the country on a daily basis, and this has resulted in his suffering from fatigue, which has been further compounded by grief suffered not only on account of demise of his late wife, but also because of being disabled from spending time with her and being besides her during the last days of her life.”
Requesting a five-day exemption, the application also nominated Ibrahim Haroon to appear in court in lieu of Nawaz for the exempted time period.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Wasiq Malik raised objection on the plea, saying that the application does not mention extraordinary circumstances for the court to grant its approval.
Pointing out that no certificate regarding the defendant’s health was produced before the court, Wasiq contended that there is no provision in law to grant an exemption on the grounds mentioned in the application.
Defending his client, Haris stated that it is normal for a person to get affected in such circumstances and assured the court that the trial will not be affected due to Nawaz’s three-day exemption.
After the exemption was granted, the defence resumed cross-examination of joint investigation team (JIT) head Wajid Zia.
Earlier, Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar were released from Adiala Jail following Islamabad High Court’s verdict of suspending the sentences of the three in Avenfield case.