Sunday, September 17, 2023
LONDON/ ISLAMABAD: In a crucial meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the party’s legal team on Saturday gave party supremo Nawaz Sharif a comprehensive briefing in the wake of the apex court's verdict striking down amendments to accountability laws, The News reported Sunday.
The team — comprising former law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, advocate Amjad Pervez, and PML-N Deputy Secretary General Attaullah Tarar — gave Nawaz legal clearance for his return to the country.
Following the meeting, Azam — who is an eminent jurist — told the media that upon returning Nawaz will face all cases in respect of the courts. He also took a dig at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, saying: "Nawaz Sharif will not put a bucket on his head. He will appear in the courts smiling and he will be vindicated on merit. There is no substance in the false cases made against him."
The former law minister added: "We will not attack courts and we will not do anything to evade the course of justice as was seen recently. There will be open hearings and the truth will be established."
Azam also said some judges violated their oath to the Constitution and damaged Pakistan through their political leanings.
Earlier, former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and Attaullah Tarar said Nawaz’s planned return to Pakistan on Oct 21 would not be affected by the SC decision.
"No case is a hindrance in his way of return to Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif’s return date remains the same. The date has been announced. He is coming back on the same date," Tarar said.
Nawaz has appointed Azam to work out the legal procedures for his smooth return.
Well-placed sources told The News that Azam — who had been contesting the cases of PML-N leaders for a number of years before joining active politics and becoming a member of the Senate — is in London and had a marathon meeting with the PML-N supremo and party president Shehbaz.
Shehbaz and Azam are returning home early this week.
The sources said that the former Attorney General for Pakistan, Advocate Irfan Qadir — who also served as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) with the status of full federal minister in the coalition government — would also be part of the legal team that will execute follow-up actions.
Qadir served as a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and was the leading counsel in the corruption case against PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her husband, Muhammad Safdar.
She had earlier been sentenced in the case by a trial court but was acquitted by the IHC on September 29, 2022, and the conviction was overturned.
The acquittal ensured that the daughter of the three-time former prime minister was eligible to run for election. Maryam, who is in Islamabad will be leaving for London for a brief visit later this week.
In the meanwhile, the sources said that the team of counsel would take the ultimate decision on Nawaz's bail after consultations this week. However, it has been hinted that the IHC would be preferred for submitting a petition since the case for appeal and bail was pending here when Nawaz left for the UK for treatment about four years ago.
Moreover, Pervez and Tarrar will also be among the counsel who spearhead the legal team.
Interestingly, a proposal to acquire the services of the acclaimed lawyer Khawaja Haris has been discarded for follow-up actions. He had earlier represented Nawaz in the accountability court but didn’t prove successful. He also could not successfully prevent the conviction of the PTI chairman, who had used Haris's legal services after Nawaz.
The sources added that a final line-up of the legal team would be determined by Shehbaz this week upon his return to Lahore from London.