KARACHI: Irked by the failure of the self-exiled Pakistan Peoples Party leader to return to the country to face trial in corruption cases, the Sindh High Court (SHC) declined on Friday extending Sharjeel Inam Memon’s protective bail for the fourth time.
A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Zafar Ahmed Rajput, fixed the bail plea hearing to pass further order on January 28.
The judges turned down the request made by the lawyer for an extension in the protective bail granted to Memon in November last year, after which he was subsequently granted three extensions.
On November 2 last year, the court had approved his protective bail in a case relating to alleged illegal adjustment and consolidation of hundreds of acres of land in favour of a private housing project.
Granting bail in sum of Rs2 million, the court had directed him to join trial proceedings before the accountability court, where the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed a reference against him.
The judges observed that the petition was granted third extension on December 31, 2016, with a condition to surrender before the accountability court concerned in Karachi.
They observed that in light of the court’s previous order, Sharjeel Memon’s protective bail stands cancelled and the surety stands forfeited.
The lawyer informed the court that his client had travelled from London to Dubai, where he was advised to take rest because of his illness. Memon has his ticket booked for January 28 to fly to Karachi, claimed the lawyer, requesting that his bail be extended till then.
Confronting the lawyer, Justice Rajput said that London-to-Dubai flight is five hours long while Dubai-to-Karachi flight is just two hours long. The petitioner can take rest in Karachi also, he further remarked.
Coming down hard on the lawyer, the bench members remarked that the petitioner was not suffering from such a critical illness, adding that the judges with such health problems conduct proceedings as per routine. “In our opinion the petitioner does not want to return,” the bench members remarked.
Therefore, they refused to extend the protective bail of the PPP leader till January 28, as pleaded by his lawyer. They fixed the matter to be heard on January 28.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2017.