Meeting with Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam cancelled by jail authorities, says his legal team

When the legal team reached Adiala Jail at 11 am to meet the Sharifs, they were informed by the jail superintendent that the meeting had been canceled.

Pakistan’s Adiala Jail authorities on Thursday “unilaterally canceled” a meeting between former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (Retd) Muhammad Safdar, and their lawyers, according to a media report. The legal team, which includes Khwaja Harris, Saad Hashmi, Zafir Khan and Amjad Pervaiz, was trying to meet the Sharif family detained at Adiala Jail following their conviction in the Avenfield properties case on July 6.

Harris on Wednesday told the accountability judge that jail authorities were not giving him access to his client – Nawaz Sharif, Dawn reported. After court proceedings, as per the legal team of Sharif family, the jail superintendent called Harris and permitted the legal team to meet with its clients, the paper said.

The jail authorities then, with the consent of the lawyers, fixed their meeting for 11 am on Thursday. When the legal team reached Adiala Jail at 11 am, they were informed by the jail superintendent that the meeting had been canceled. Subsequently, they returned without meeting their clients, the paper reported.

Citing Haris, the paper said that the “legal team had been requesting jail authorities since the day before to allow us to meet our clients in jail so that we can confer with them regarding their future strategy.”

“We requested the jail authorities to allow us to meet yesterday but we were not allowed (to meet them),” Harris said.

“Eventually we were asked to come today at 11 am to meet Mian Sahib etc. at Adiala Jail. While we were on our way and had almost reached, we received a call from the jail superintendent and were asked not to come today as our meeting had been unilaterally canceled,” he added.

Haris said an Adiala Jail assistant superintendent had explained that the lawyers’ meeting had been canceled since Thursday is for visiting family members and others.

He claimed that the jail administration had asked them to suggest a date for another meeting, but were not giving them any assurance that the same would not happen with their next meeting.

The defense counsel said that it was not possible for professional lawyers to work freely and independently if the behavior of jail authorities continued to be humiliating.

Sharif, 68, along with his daughter Maryam, 44 and son-in-law Safdar are serving jail terms of 10-years, seven years and one year respectively in Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, after an accountability court convicted them on July 6 over the family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London. The former prime minister has two more pending corruption cases — the Al-Azizia steel mills and Flagship — against him.