Nawaz Sharif files petition requesting court to forgo his 'surrender' order

Petition states that the former premier’s medical condition does not allow him to appear before the court

Saqib Bashir September 09, 2020
A file photo of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Saarc Summit. PHOTO: AP


Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday filed a petition in Islamabad High Court (IHC) requesting the court to forgo its order of surrender on September 10 in Al-Azizia reference.

The plea was filed by Nawaz’s lawyer Khawaja Harris wherein it prayed upon the court that in the absence of Nawaz Sharif, his representative counsel should be allowed to appear on his behalf.

Nawaz Sharif's medical condition is not such that he can appear before the court; the petition prayed adding that IHC should withdraw its summons for the former premier.

The petition stated that owing to the COVID-19 breakout Nawaz’s medical procedure was delayed and with the ongoing lockdown in the UK he has still not been able to get admission in any hospital in the country for treatment.

It argued that in accordance to the actual wording of the undertaking it is a precondition for a representative of the Pakistan High Commission to get involved that first the government has “any credible information that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is living abroad despite his fitness to travel”.

The petition, however, stated that there was no such report by any high commission official and nothing remotely indicated that the government had asked the high commission to carry out such an inquiry.

Medical reports were also attached with Nawaz’s plea whereas the former prime minister had filed two miscellaneous petitions in Al-Azizia reference.

On September 1, Islamabad High Court (IHC) had directed Nawaz 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 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 eight-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.

Nawaz’s new medical reports submitted

New medical reports of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif have been submitted to the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Nawaz’s cardiac surgeon and Dr David Lawrence has written the medical report which was also endorsed by a professor of cardiology in the United States Dr Fayyaz Shaal.

The report stated that the doctors had instructed Nawaz not to travel due to coronary heart disease. It added that traveling can risk Nawaz of contracting the Covid-19 virus which would lead to possible suffocation or even his death.

“I had previously already diagnosed that a large part of the patient's heart has been damaged,” said Dr Lawrence in his report. “Disorders of platelet count, heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease can lead to blood clots and heart attack.”

The report further added that a comprehensive procedure is required in consultation with all relevant physicians whereas the overall risk and complications of coronary heart disease had further increased.

“Coronavirus had disrupted the treatment of many patients,” the report said. “The procedure will be carried out on schedule by the hospitals.”

Dr Lawrence’s report said that the former premier is being treated mainly in London and doctors there have complete information about patent’s diseases and treatments.

“I would recommend that he stays in London for better treatment,” the reports recommend. “It has become significantly more difficult for blood to reach Nawaz’s heart. He suffers from class two angina (chest pain) despite excessive medical therapy. I recommend that the patient undergo coronary angiography.”

The report said that after this process, it will be possible to prescribe further treatment whereas Nawaz Sharif's return is possible only after he undergoes the treatment.

“Nawaz Sharif may need redo coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), which is a complicated process,” Dr Lawrence said. “Nawaz Sharif has also been advised to take a walk in the open on regular basis.”

Dr Shaal agreed with Dr Lawrence's opinion Nawaz Sharif should stay in London till angiogram is done.

“Nawaz Sharif should not travel in pandemic situation,” said Dr Shaal.


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