DATE=12/4/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PAK - SHARIF (L) NUMBER=2-256835 BYLINE=SCOTT ANGER DATELINE=KARACHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: A special anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has delayed the trial of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on charges of attempted murder, treason and hijacking. As VOA's Scott Anger reports from Karachi, the delay gives the government a chance to appoint a new judge in the case. TEXT: The presiding judge in the case of Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has decided formal charges will not be heard until December 8th, after a new judge is expected to be appointed. The ruling by Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Rehmat Hussain Jafri, a sessions court judge, comes a day after the country's military government announced that a high court judge must now take control of the proceedings. Iqbal Raad, one of four members of Mr. Sharif's defense team, says the government's last-minute move jeopardizes the chance of a fair trial for his client. ///Raad Act/// They (the government) are changing at the eleventh hour. What was the need of all this? All these moves are being made to negate a fair trial and to have their (the government's) own choice of judges. ///End Act/// Pakistan's chief prosecutor in the case, Raja Qureshi, says the amendment to the anti-terrorism law will make the trial more transparent. He says no objections have been raised about the current judge but since this is such a high-profile case, the government wants a more senior judge to handle the trial. Mr. Sharif looked rested during his appearance in a special anti-terrorism court in the southern port city, Karachi. The ex-prime minister told journalists during a break in Saturday's hearing, that his case is one-hundred percent political. He says the amendment in the law clearly shows the government's partiality and vindictiveness. Among the charges Nawaz Sharif faces, hijacking is the most serious. If convicted, he and the other defendants, including his brother Shahbaz, could face the death penalty. Pakistan's military leaders have accused the former prime minister of attempting to divert a plane carrying army chief General Pervez Musharraf from Sri Lanka to Karachi October 12th. Hours after the high altitude drama, General Musharraf overthrew the Sharif government in a bloodless coup. The delay in the trial makes it possible for Mr. Sharif to appear before the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the capital, Islamabad Tuesday. The court has ordered him to appear in connection with contempt of court charges that have been re-opened. Those charges stem from an incident when the court was invaded by a mob in 1997, during Mr. Sharif's constitutional showdown with the Supreme Court's chief justice, who was removed from his post shortly afterward. (SIGNED) NEB/SA/PLM 04-Dec-1999 06:55 AM EDT (04-Dec-1999 1155 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .