Surrender, appear in court on 10th: IHC orders Nawaz

Court warns that otherwise it will declare former PM absconder; initiate action against guarantors


Saqib Bashir September 01, 2020

ISLAMABAD:

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to appear before it on September 10, warning that otherwise it will declare him an absconder and also initiate action against those who acted as guarantors when the PML-N leader was granted bail by the court.

“We deem [it] appropriate that an opportunity be granted to the appellant [Nawaz] to appear before the court and surrender to the authorities before the next date of hearing.

“Failing this, proceedings would be initiated against him in accordance with law including but not limited to the provisions of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance, 1999,” said an order-sheet issued on Tuesday by a bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhar Kayani and Justice Aamer Farooq.

The IHC bench was formed last month to hear the former premier’s appeals against his conviction by a couple of Islamabad-based accountability courts in two NAB references.

Islamabad Accountability Court-I had sentenced Nawaz to ten-year imprisonment in Avenfield case in July 2018 while Islamabad Accountability Court-II had sentenced him to seven-year jail term in Al-Azizia case in December 2018.

An IHC bench granted bail to Nawaz in the Avenfield case in September 2018. The same court on October 29, 2019 granted him 8-week bail also in Al-Azizia case in view of his deteriorating health condition.

The former premier was later also granted the rare permission to fly abroad for medical treatment after the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered the government to remove his name from the country’s no-fly list – the Exit Control List (ECL).

The politician had challenged his convictions in the IHC.

However, prior to hearing the appeals, the bench on Tuesday took up Nawaz’s application seeking exemption from appearing in the court during hearing of his appeals. In the application, Nawaz cited his health condition and argued that he is still getting medical treatment in London.

The bench noted that the IHC had suspended Nawaz’s sentence in Al-Azizia case and granted him bail for a period of eight-week with the observation that the bail was now supposed to be extended by the government of Punjab under Section 401(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

“It was observed in the judgment that if indisposition of the appellant [Nawaz] continues then he may apply for extension of the suspension before the Government of Punjab under Section 401(2) CrPC.

It said the Punjab government – vide its decision dated 27.02.2020 – intimated the former premier that the request for suspension had been turned down and hence suspension of his sentence and his bail lapsed on the said date – February 27.

“Admittedly, the appellant [Nawaz Sharif] is not on bail and is also not present in the court but has made an application for exemption from appearance due to medical reasons,” it added. The IHC observed that Nawaz also did not inform it when he proceeded abroad or when his name was removed from the ECL.

It also made it clear that the order passed by the LHC for removing the PML-N supreme leader’s name from the ECL or the permission granted to him to travel abroad had no bearing on the suspension order.

[Therefore] we deem [it] appropriate that an opportunity be granted to the appellant [Nawaz] to appear before the court and surrender to the authorities before the next date of hearing,” it said.

 Earlier, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris contended that Nawaz’s health did not allow him to travel to Pakistan and appear before the court.  He said the former premier had filed a writ petition before the LHC which is still pending.

He admitted that according to the undertaking submitted in the court by Nawaz’s brother – PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif – if the appellant had to stay abroad for more than four weeks, his medical condition would be determined by the representative of the Pakistan High Commission in the UK.

The counsel also admitted that Nawaz Sharif was not hospitalized

The court asked Deputy Attorney General Arshad Mehmood Kiyani whether the government had made any effort to verify Nawaz’s medical condition in London. Kiyani replied in negative.

NAB Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzaib Khan Bharwana opposed Nawaz’s request for exemption from appearance in the court and urged the court to declare Nawaz an absconder.

Later, the court noted that it will hear Nawaz’s appeal only if he appears before the court on September 10. It, however, observed that as the court had admitted Nawaz’s appeals against his conviction, the appeals would be decided on merit even if the former prime minister is declared as an absconder.

COMMENTS (1)

Ahmad | 2 years ago | Reply

no hiding behind medical issues now, say you do not want to come keep it simple and short say that you do not care about IHC orders

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