Avenfield case: Court dismisses Sharifs’ plea to postpone verdict

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ISLAMABAD : All eyes are set on the accountability court hearing the high-profile corruption cases against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family as it is expected to announce its verdict in the Avenfield properties reference today.

Strict security arrangements, including paramilitary personnel, are in place at the Federal Judicial Complex, where the court is located. The roads leading to the complex have also been closed to traffic.

Moreover, the district administration has imposed Section 144 in the capital to discourage mass gatherings.

As the hearing went under way, Judge Mohammad Bashir heard Sharifs’ request, submitted on Thursday, requesting the trial court to postpone the verdict till he is back in the country next week.

After submitting Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s medical report, Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez argued that the law stipulates the presence of the accused when the verdict is read out. After the prosecution opposed any delay at such a late stage of the trial, the judge reserved his verdict and adjourned the hearing for an hour.

Later, the court dismissed Sharifs’ plea and set 12:30pm as the time for announcing the verdict.

Nawaz and Maryam have been in London since June 14 tending to Nawaz’s wife Kulsoom, who is under medical treatment there, while Safdar is in Mansehra campagning for the July 25 election.

On Tuesday, the court had reserved its verdict and ordered all accused to ensure their presence in court when the verdict is read out today.

The reference pertains to the ownership of the Sharif family’s apartments at Avenfield House, London.

Apart from Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar are accused in the case. Nawaz’s sons, also wanted in the case, have been declared proclaimed offenders owing to their no-show.

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