ISLAMABAD -  The accountability court was forced on Friday to defer until October 19 the indictment of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar in corruption cases, due to a ruckus caused by PML-N lawyers in the courtroom.

Earlier, dozens of PML-N lawyers and supporters clashed with the police to enter the court premises, despite a ban on the entry of persons unrelated to the process.

Live footage on TV channels showed infuriated ruling party supporters, including women, pushing police personnel in an attempt to enter the courtroom. The police, in return, baton-charged the crowd.

Maryam and her husband Safdar had already arrived in the courtroom separately when dozens of lawyers – who had come from different cities –also forced their entry into court premises and then into the courtroom.

The courtroom was presenting the look of a fish market when Judge Bashir entered the courtroom. The highly-agitated lawyers were shouting slogans against police.

They demanded the judge order action against the police officials, threatening that they would not let the court work until then.

The judge asked the lawyers to maintain the court decorum and let any one of them present their point of view. But the lawyers were in no mood to listen to the judge and they continued causing ruckus in the courtroom.

The judge tried his best to calm down the angry lawyers but when he saw that they were not listening to him, he went to his retiring room and from there passed the adjournment order to take up the case on October 19, when the three accused would now be charge-sheeted.

Soon after the adjournment of the case, the rowdy lawyers dispersed.

On the other hand, NAB prosecution team filed a report to the NAB headquarters on the hooliganism of PML-N lawyers. The report said that an attempt was made to attack NAB officials both outside and inside the court. Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, head of NAB team, was shoved repeatedly besides removing the NAB team from the rostrum, it said.

Talking to the media after appearing before the NAB court, Maryam Nawaz demanded the interior ministry take action against those who had attacked the lawyers outside the court premises and prevented them from entering the courtroom.

Before yesterday’s hearing, Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer claimed that he had the defendant’s permission to hear the court’s indictment in his absence.

But NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman told the media that Nawaz could not be indicted until he appeared in the court. “Under the law, an accused cannot be charged in absentia,” he said.

Some insiders in the PML-N said that the former premier was likely to return to the country to attend the next hearing to face the charge-sheet in the corruption reference against him.

Nawaz Sharif, 67, was disqualified by the country's top court in the Panama Papers scandal in July this year. The court had also ordered the opening of several corruption cases against him and members of his family.

At the previous hearing on October 9, the accountability court observed that Sharif, Maryam and Capt Safdar would be indicted on October 13.

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

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