ISLAMABAD, Sep 15 (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday dismissed the petition of former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif seeking exemption from hearing in Al-Aziz Steel Mills reference and issued his non-bailable arrest warrants.
The decision stated that the court would initiate a process to declare the former prime minister as absconder if he failed to surrender till September 22.
The court also declared that the accused was not entitled to pursue his appeals through any of his representative.
A division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani reserved the verdict and also dismissed the petition seeking exemption by Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield property references initiated by National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
During the course of proceedings, the bench noted that if a person never admitted into any hospital in last seven months for treatment abroad then why not he could stay in Pakistan.
Nawaz’s Lawyer Khawaja Haris pleaded the court that former president Pervaiz Musharraf was allowed to contest his case pertaining to assets through his representative.
It had proved that a lawyer could be permitted to appear on behalf of his client in extraordinary situation, he added.
He further argued that Musharraf’s trial was continue in high treason case even in his absence, to this the bench asked whether these references were acceptable in Nawaz Sharif’s matter as the court was hearing a criminal case and the lawyer was demanding exemption for his client.
Khawaja Haris said that his client had been in jail and filed an appeal against his imprisonment sentence.
The bench observed that criminal law was applicable where the NAB law was found silent.
Concluding his arguments, Khawaja Haris said that former prime minister couldn’t appear before court due to his health conditions.
He said that NAB prosecutor had not raised any objection on authenticity of medical certificate of Nawaz Sharif and prayed the court to grant his client exemption from hearing and conduct hearing in his appeals through a representative.
Additional Prosecutor NAB Jahanzeb Bharwana pleaded that the petitions of Nawaz Sharif regarding exemption from hearing were non maintainable as the court had ordered him to surrender before it.
The bail of the accused had been expired in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case, he said to this the bench said that it was an admitted fact that the former prime minister didn’t appear before the bench.
The court observed that an absconder from the law was not entitled for any legal relief.
After conclusion of arguments from both sides, the bench dismissed the petition of former prime minister seeking exemption from hearing and issued non bailable arrest warrants against him.