An accountability court could not frame charges against former finance minister Ishaq Dar and aides in a supplementary reference on Tuesday after a lawyer aggressively objected to the timing.
Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) President Javed Akbar Shah, representing the co-accused Mansoor Raza Rizvi — one of the two directors of Dar’s company Hajveri Modaraba —misbehaved with Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir during the hearing of the supplementary reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The court resumed hearing in the supplementary reference against Dar, NBP President Saeed Ahmed, Naeem Mahmood and Syed Mansoor Raza Rizvi when the incident occurred.
Subsequently, the court issued show-cause notice to the IHCBA’s president and issued non-bailable warrants of arrest for his client, Mansoor Raza Rizvi, as he walked out of the courtroom with his lawyer.
The court noted that a month has already been passed and the suspects could not be indicted despite the Supreme Court’s directions to conclude it within the extended time of three months.
During the proceeding, NAB prosecutor Imran Shafique requested the court to issue arrest warrants for one of the accused – Rizvi – for leaving the courtroom.
Shafique said the accused were lingering the trial for one reason or the other.
However, the IHCBA president and Rizvi’s lawyer, Shah aggressively asked the court for a verdict on his application, demanding an adjournment.
When asked for the reason, he said, state that his ‘Phuphi’ has passed away and he has to go there.
Irked by Shah’s harsh tone, Judge Bashir responded by dismissing the plea.
Shah disagreed and stated that the plea could not be dismissed in such a manner and when he asked for a reason, the judge replied that the reason would be given in writing if the defence counsel sat down.
An agitated Shah then reportedly took offence at the judge, referring to him as brother, “I am not your brother, give me a reason why the indictment is necessary?”
When Judge Bashir warned that the lawyer was being disrespectful to the bench, Shah responded: “What are you going to do? Will you shoot me or send me to jail?”
Shah then walked out of the courtroom with his client in tow.
Following the dramatic exit, the NAB prosecutor remarked that the defence counsel disrespected the court with his threats and actions.
The accountability court delayed the indictment until next hearing.
In his talk to the media, Shah said he informed the judge about the death of a close relative and about his family waiting outside the court premises in a car so that they might travel to their native area but his application was dismissed.
Shah alleged that the judge started hearing the case around 8:15am which is 15 minutes earlier than the actual court time. He said the court did not stop him when he came out of the courtroom.
“I regret wearing this black coat before judges like these,” he said.
He said the court order and proceeding were in violation of the law.
When the hearing was over, Shah filed an application for the cancellation of the orders.
The court, however, ordered to put the application for the next fixed date – April 5.