Nawaz, Maryam seek 7-day delay of Avenfield verdict

Counsel for Sharif family requested exemption from proceedings as father and daughter are in London to tend to Kulsoom Nawaz

Islamabad: Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz submitted applications in the accountability court on Thursday seeking a seven-day delay in the announcement of the verdict in the Avenfield corruption reference.

The application came a day before the court was set to announce the verdict on July 6 (Friday) after reserving the verdict earlier.

The counsel for Sharif family requested a seven-day exemption from accountability proceedings as the father and daughter are currently in London to tend to the ailing Begum Kulsoom Nawaz (wife of Nawaz Sharif).

In the applications compiled on behalf of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam, the counsel cited Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s poor health as the reason for the family’s request to postpone the verdict.

“The doctors treating Maryam’s mother have opined that the condition of Begum Kulsoom is improving and that they planned to reduce her sedation on July 4 and wake her over the next 48 hours,” read the petition submitted by the defence counsel Amjad Parvez. “Furthermore, the doctors advised that the continuous presence and support of the family will help her [Begum Kulsoom]” it added.

Disqualified former prime minister Nawaz and his daughter reasoned that they attended almost all hearings since the commencement of the trial and thus wanted to be present in court when the judgement was announced.

The petition added that “Maryam had intended to return to Pakistan on June 27 as it was expected that by this date her mother would have sufficiently recovered” but her return was postponed as “her mother remained unconscious and ventilator-dependent.”

A medical report attached with the petition explains Kulsoom’s health condition. “Kulsoom is diagnosed with cardio-respiratory collapse with a confirmed pulmonary thromboembolic disease, cardiogenic shock with multiple organ failure including respiratory and renal failure and malnutrition. On July 3, a tracheotomy was performed on Kulsoom. Results awaited,” the report reads. Kulsoom Nawaz is on ventilator since June 14 after a cardiac arrest.

Begum Kulsoom was diagnosed with lymphoma (throat) cancer in August 2017 and has since undergone several sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She showed signs of improvement initially, but her condition has deteriorated lately. Since then, Maryam and Nawaz have made several trips back and forth from London to attend the hearings in Pakistan and tend to the ailing Kulsoom in UK.

The Avenfield reference was among three corruption references filed against the former premier and his children by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following Supreme Court’s orders in the Panamagate case which disqualified Sharif as the premier.

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