New twist in references

KHAWAJA Haris, counsel for Mian Nawaz Sharif in NAB references, on Monday rescued himself from representing the former Prime Minister in the accountability court. The lawyer and his team walked out of the case, stating that they cannot perform under pressure. Haris said the Supreme Court had instructed the accountability court to wrap up the proceedings in a month and to conduct hearings on Saturdays and Sundays.
This development has given an entirely new twist to the cases, which are already being heard on almost daily basis and both MNS and his family members have been appearing in the court regularly. The Supreme Court might have its own reasons in declining the extension demanded by the counsel of the former Prime Minister but the plea taken by the apex court that these high profile cases should conclude now as the accused as well as the entire nation is experiencing mental agony is hardly plausible. The very fact that these are important cases involving a personality who remained thrice Prime Minister of the country demands extra care and caution to ensure that each and every aspect of the justice is met. There must not be any cause to complain that the cases were wrapped up in undue haste. In the first place, it was not thought appropriate by majority of the legal community to impose timelines on conclusion of the case and appointment of an overseeing judge for the purpose. Then the apex court had been granting extensions in piecemeal conveying an impression of both the judge and the aggrieved party under pressure. Similarly, most of the pleas of the former Prime Minister and their legal team on different aspects of the references have been decided against them. The latest development is expected to affect the outcome of the references badly as the team that studied them is out and new ones, even if appointed by the former Prime Minister, would be unable to do justice with their cases, as they will have little time at their disposal to contribute meaningfully. There are countless high profile and other cases that are being tried at different tiers of the judiciary not for years but decades, therefore, it would be appropriate if the references were allowed to take normal course.

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