ISLAMABAD - A day after lead counsel Khawaja Haris recused himself from pursuing Sharifs’ cases, the accountability court Tuesday asked deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to hire a new lawyer by June 19 for the ongoing corruption references against him.

During the hearing, in a dialogue with Nawaz Sharif, Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir said: “Monitoring judges are also appointed in many other cases and time is fixed even for two months to wrap up cases. In your references, speedy trial is being made to do justice within the stipulated time”.

When no arguments were made in the Avenfield reference from the defence side, the judge remarked the court had not yet accepted the petition of Khawaja Harris regarding his withdrawal from the corruption references against the Sharif family. “Nawaz Sharif can either convince Khawaja Harris till June 19 to appear in the court or appoint some other lawyer to contest the cases on behalf of them,” the accountability court judge remarked. He said the lawyer reserved the legal right to withdraw from any case. The judge said it has been instructed in the written order of the Supreme Court to hold proceedings on Saturdays to wrap up the cases, “but we can decide to devise a mechanism for speedy proceedings.”

Sharif said Khawaja Harris had stated in the apex court that he would recuse himself from this particular case if the proceedings were also held on weekends, adding it was not an easy task to find out some competent lawyer of the calibre of Khawaja Harris. Sharif said Harris had been representing him in the court in this reference for the last nine months. He said, “This is a different sort of case in which a monitoring judge has also been appointed and instructions are also being given from the apex court. If the apex court is so much interested, this case should be transferred to that court and announce a judgment. “Either imprison or hang us,” he said.

The accountability court judge intervened and said, “Which instructions are you talking about? Show in the court if you have any. Monitoring judges are also appointed in other cases.”

The NAB prosecutor said, “If Khawaja Harris reads the order of the Supreme Court personally, he will take back his application for withdrawing from the corruption references.”

“Tuesday was scheduled for the defence counsel to conclude his arguments in the Avenfield reference. In the absence of Harris, counsel for Maryam Nawaz should start his arguments,” the NAB prosecutor contended.

The accountability court asked the NAB prosecutor to be silent when he repeatedly asked Maryam’s lawyer to start arguments. “First conclude the issue which we are discussing before coming to the arguments,” he said.

The accountability court, on the request of defence counsel Amjad Pervez, adjourned the hearing in the Avenfield properties reference till June 14. Cross-questioning of JIT head Wajid Zia in the Al-Azizia reference will be held on June 19.

Earlier, speaking informally inside the accountability court, Sharif said he has appeared in person approximately for 100 times in connection with the Panama Papers references. “I fully endorse whatever Khawaja Harris has contended about this reference,” he said, adding cases cannot be handled like this. “If they want to put my name on the ECL, they should go for it. If the apex court is willing, they can transfer this case to the Supreme Court; they should do whatever they want to.

Commenting on former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s return, Sharif said, “The man who abrogated the Constitution and put Pakistan into the hell of terrorism is being welcomed, but who brought Pakistan out of dark ages is being put on the ECL”.

When asked why the Sharif family did not produce witnesses in the court, Sharif said, “We brought each and everything in our defence, while the NAB failed to prove its allegations.” “Those who are talking about assets should fear God.”



Nawaz asked to hire new lawyer by 19th