ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry came down hard on the Sharif family on Tuesday for failing to appear before the accountability court hearing corruption references against them.
Speaking to the media outside the Election Commission of Pakistan, he pleaded the Supreme Court’s monitoring judge, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, to take notice of the Sharif family’s non-appearance on Tuesday.
“Had this been another country, no sitting senator could dare lie like this in court,” said Chaudhry, referring to Senator Asif Kirmani’s reported plea in court that the Sharifs’ London residence addresses are unknown to him.
“The entire country knows the Sharifs’ London address. The prime minister and federal minister met Nawaz Sharif in London but the court is being told their addresses are unavailable,” he claimed.
He said the accountability judge should have taken notice of this “non-serious attitude”.
“Kirmani should have been arrested in court for making a mockery of the court,” he said.
Chaudhry, who is a lawyer by profession, said giving a week’s adjournment in such a case is strange, adding that there should be day-to-day hearings of this case. He appealed to the monitoring judge to take notice of the lax proceedings in the accountability court, saying, “the entire country’s eyes are fixed on this trial”.
“The entire world is watching who is running away from the courts now,” he said, informing that the NAB law comprises three years in prison for those who fail to show up in court during proceedings.
The PTI leader also criticised the “deliberate” campaign to malign state institutions by the ruling party.
“There’s a pattern to damaging state institutions,” he claimed, explaining that Justice Ahsan was criticised in the media for inquiring into the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case implementation.
“There’s a process, first a newspaper report is published and then TV shows discuss the issue in the evening,” he remarked. He termed Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal as the leader of the movement against the army and judiciary, saying Iqbal “used the same news report to malign the judge”.
Chaudhry appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to safeguard his colleague’s honour and take notice of this “malicious campaign”.
“Ahsan Iqbal should be summoned to court and made answerable,” he said, adding that contempt proceedings should be initiated against him.
“Maryam Nawaz said people were picked up before the NA-120 by-election. That was a lie aimed to malign the army,” said Chaudhry, adding that Iqbal also played politics over this matter.
In response to a question, he hit out at disgruntled PTI MNA Ayesha Gulalai, saying she announced in a press conference that she is leaving the party but now claims otherwise.
Replying to a question regarding PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s summons by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), he said Imran respects the ECP and if required will appear before it too.
“Our concern is whether the ECP is a court or an administrative body,” he said, adding that the matter is fixed before a larger bench of the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday and if it decides so then Imran will appear before the ECP.