References against Sharifs: Appearance of accused mandatory: court
07 August, 2012
RAWALPINDI: Special Accountability Court Judge Chaudhry Abdul Haq on Monday said appearance of accused before the courts in criminal cases was mandatory.
"It is mandatory for the accused to appear before the courts in criminal cases. In case of absence, accused may be declared absconders," the judge passed these remarks over a power of attorney submitted by counsel of the Sharif family, Chaudhry Hassan, empowering Advocate Akram Sheikh to appear before the court on behalf of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and three others.
The power of attorney reads that the Sharifs were leaders of national level and Advocate Akram Sheikh would appear before the court on their behalf.
NAB Additional Prosecutor General Chaudhry Riaz objected to the power of attorney, sayi`ng that everyone was equal in the eye of law and there was no exemption to anyone, particularly in criminal cases.
Hassan argued on the merits of the petitions about reopening of corruption references, saying the Sharifs always respected the courts.
On July 18, the court had issued notices to Nawaz, Shahbaz, Hamza Shahbaz and six other family members in corruption cases related to Hudaibia Paper Mills, Ittefaq Foundry and Raiwind land.
On July 28, fresh notices were issued as no accused appeared before the court. During the previous hearings, the PML-N leaders were of the view that NAB was opening the cases at the behest of President Asif Zardari. Sharifs counsel Akram Sheikh had said NAB could only request for opening of the case, adding that the bureau had no authority to issue notices, as the superior judiciary had given stay order in this regard. Judge Haq adjourned the hearing until September 15.