Khawaja Haris withdraws from representing Nawaz in NAB references

June 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s legal counsel Khawaja Haris on Monday excused himself from representing the former prime minister in the corruption references filed by NAB against the Sharif family.

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the accountability court after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed references against them in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.

On Sunday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the accountability court to announce its verdict on all three corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family within a month.

During the hearing, the chief justice rejected Nawaz’s former counsel Haris’ petition for completing the trial in six weeks, observing that final verdict against the former premier, his sons, daughter, and son-in-law should be announced within a month.

Announcing his decision to withdraw his legal services to Nawaz during the hearing of Al-Azizia reference today, Haris said the Supreme Court had ‘dictated on completing the trial within a month.’

In a written note to the apex court, Haris said that the top court had not accepted his stance on the three references. “As a professional lawyer, I think the arguments for all of the three references [against Nawaz and his family] could be presented together,” he observed.

Haris, during the hearing of Al-Azizia reference on June 4, had requested accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir to hear the arguments for all three corruption references jointly. “Sixty per cent of the arguments are the same in the three references,” Harris had said.

The lawyer, in his letter, expressed inability to work on Saturdays and Sundays as ordered by the Supreme Court. Haris said he was ‘dictated’ to work beyond court hours.

Nawaz’s former legal counsel remarked that he could not continue to work in the present conditions.

Following the announcement, accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir inquired Nawaz if he would hire a new lawyer or convince Haris to represent him.

To this, the former prime minister asked for a few days for consultations over his legal representation in the matter. Nawaz then requested the court to adjourn the hearing. INP