The counsel for the embattled Sharif family on Thursday submitted applications in the accountability court seeking a week’s delay in the announcement of the verdict in the Avenfield corruption reference — scheduled to be announced on Friday (tomorrow).
In the applications compiled on behalf of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam, the counsel cited Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s poor health as the reason for the family’s bid to have the verdict postponed.
“Not only is it in the interest of justice, but in consonance with the spirit and requirement of Section 366 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 that the announcement of order in the titled Reference may be postponed for a minimum of seven days period,” the application added.
Mohammad Bashir, the accountability court judge who is hearing the corruption references against the Sharif family, was on leave on Thursday in order to pen the court’s judgement in the Avenfield reference.
In his absence, duty judge Mohammad Arshad expressed his inability to entertain the application.
The duty judge initially referred the Sharifs’ counsel to the registrar accountability court, but later on received the application and issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau’s prosecution.
A decision on whether the verdict can be postponed will, however, be taken by Justice Bashir after he hears the defence counsel’s argument on Friday morning.
A day earlier, Sharif, who is still in London along with Maryam, had said he wants to hear the judgement of the case while standing in the courtroom where he “endured more than 100 hearings” with his daughter.
Sharif said Pakistan has a history of verdicts being “unnecessarily” reserved for months, hence delaying the judgement of the Avenfield case for a few days “considering an extremely sensitive matter” would not violate any requisite of justice or law.
“I want to hear this judgement while standing in the courtroom, amidst my people [and] holding them as witnesses,” he said, adding that his lawyer would submit a formal application in the court requesting it to delay the announcement of the verdict.
The Avenfield reference was among the corruption references filed against the former premier and his children by NAB on the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panamagate case which disqualified Sharif.