ISLAMABAD, Sep 01 (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered Former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to surrender before this court till September 10, in appeals pertaining to Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield property references.
The bench remarked that the court wanted to give an opportunity to the former prime minister to surrender and appear, before being declared absconder.
Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that the court would initiate the process to declare Nawaz Sharif as absconder if he failed to present himself before court till next date.
A division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani conducted hearing on a case seeking exemption from hearing for Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds in appeals pertaining to graft references.
Maryam Nawaz, Khawaja Haris and NAB prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana appeared before the court.
During the course of proceeding, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris pleaded that his client could still challenge the Punjab government’s decision for rejecting extension of Nawaz Sharif’s bail despite the summons of this court.To this Justice Farooq said that the court was not depriving the accused from his legal rights.
Haris said that his client was not able to travel Pakistan due to his current health state, adding that a relevant case was pending before Lahore High Court (LHC).
He said that his Nawaz Sharif’s bail was rejected at the time when he was under treatment in London.
Nawaz was allowed to travel abroad on recommendation of medical board as his treatment was not possible in Pakistan.
Haris said that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif had submitted affidavit to LHC assuring that Nawaz would return soon after completion of his treatment.
On this basis, the LHC allowed the former prime minister to travel abroad for four weeks to this Justice Farooq observed that LHC could not supersede the decision of IHC, adding that the LHC’s judgment was in the limits of IHC’s decision regarding suspension of punishment.
To a query by the bench, Khawaja Haris said that the Punjab government had rejected the bail extension request of his client on February 27, even after submission of fresh medical reports of the accused. To this, Justice Farooq remarked that the Punjab government was treating the matter in accordance of IHC’s judgment.
Khawaja Haris said that the proceeding of LHC had no connection with this court to this Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani and said that it was IHC who had to decide the matter as the appeals were pending with it, adding that the decision of LHC was only related to exit control list (ECL).
At this, Khawaja Haris adopted the stance that he was admitting that his client was not on bail currently in accordance of the court verdict.
Justice Kiyani asked the lawyer to read the para two of Shahbaz Sharif’s affidavit and questioned if Nawaz Sharif had produced his fresh medical reports to Punjab government. To this, Haris said that his all medical report had been submitted to registrar IHC office. He said that the federal government could send any of its representative to view the health of Nawaz Sharif.
To another question by the court, Nawaz’s lawyer said that his client was not admitted in hospital this time for treatment but it did not mean that he was fit for traveling. To this Justice Farooq remarked that Nawaz’s bail in Avenfield Property reference was not for a certain time period but his bail state in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case could also affect this case.
Justice Kiyani remarked that the accused had not submitted documented proof for his treatment details if this was done then the Punjab government could investigate it through sending its representative.
Justice Farooq asked that if the court conduct hearing of the situation through its representative and decide the case against Nawaz Sharif then how the decision would implemented as the accused was staying abroad and what would be status of his appeal if he had been declared absconder.
Haris said that the court could take decisions after hearing his client’s appeals even after he had been declared absconder. NAB prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana said that no representative could be appoint for the accused as he was not in jail currently.
Nawaz Sharif had to obey the IHC’s judgment regarding his bail, he said, adding that the accused had not challenged the decision of Punjab government at any forum.
He said that the petition seeking his exemption from hearing was not maintainable and prayed the court to declare Nawaz Sharif as absconder due to not appearance, to this Justice Farooq said that this court would give a last opportunity to the accused to surrender before it. After this, the court adjourned hearing on Nawaz appeals till next date, while Maryam Safdar and Captain Safdar’s appeals in Avenfield property reference were adjourned till September 23.