Staff Reporter – Islamabad:
The counsel representing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield Apartments case has excused himself from representing his clients citing the coronavirus as a reason.
A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Moshin Akhtar Kayani, heard the appeals of Maryam and Safdar against an accountability court verdict in the Avenfield Apartment case.
At the outset of the hearing, the PML-N vice president approached the bench and apprised that her lawyer could not represent her anymore because he has “contracted the coronavirus”.
“I met him two days ago and he told me he could not pursue my case,” Maryam informed the bench. She said she needed one month to find a new lawyer, but the court gave her till September 23 to find a new counsel.
Maryam also requested the court to entertain another petition before deciding on the merits of the case. She said she wanted to bring “new facts” to light by filing a new petition.
During the previous hearing, the high court had expressed displeasure over constant delays in the case and said the appeals filed in 2019-20 had been decided, but this case was still pending.
The bench had also expressed anger over “Maryam speaking loudly” as she arrived in the courtroom. It had remarked that the accused deserved bail cancellation as she did not know how to respect the court.
In June this year, the IHC had dismissed appeals filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was also convicted in the Avenfield Apartments case. In its decision, the court had said that the former PM had lost his right to appeal for “being a fugitive from law”.
“Since the appellant is fugitive from the law, hence [he] has lost his right of audience before this Court and we are left with no choice except to dismiss his appeal,” the IHC order had read.
The judges, however, had stated that the appellant might file an application before IHC, as and when he surrenders or is captured by the authorities, for a decision on the appeals.