IHC orders Nawaz Sharif to surrender before court

Court separates Maryam, Safdar’s appeals in Avenfield reference from that of Nawaz

By: News Desk      Published: 12:39 PM, 1 Sep, 2020
IHC orders Nawaz Sharif to surrender before court

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to surrender before the court as it rejected a plea filed to get an exemption from appearing in person at the hearing of appeals filed against his conviction, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Moreover, the judges also sought a reply from the government about the bail issue of Nawaz Sharif till September 10 and remarked that the hearing of appeals could move ahead only if he appeared before the court. 

A two-member bench said the court wasn’t declaring him an absconder and that he had another chance to avail the opportunity before that. In case of a failure, it added, the process would be started to declare an absconder.

The petition for exemption was filed as the bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani started hearing the appeals related to his conviction in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield references.

However, the IHC reserved its judgment about the date on which the former prime minister would have to surrender himself, saying it would be mentioned in the written orders.

Justice Kayani remarked that they would pass necessary orders in case Nawaz feared that he would be arrested on his arrival in Pakistan.

Also, the IHC separated the appeals filed by PML-N Vice-president Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain Safdar in the Avenfield reference from that of Nawaz, stopping them to appear before the court. In this connection, their appeals would now be heard on September 23.

The same bench is also hearing a petition filed by NAB against the acquittal of Nawaz Sharif in the Flagship reference.

During the hearing, Khawaja Haris, the counsel for Nawaz, argued against issuing the orders on Tuesday before the next hearing, saying that what would happen if his client submitted a report by then.

Although he admitted that Nawaz is no more on bail but added that he was under treatment in London and the government did not send any official from the Pakistani High Commission in London – as suggested in the original Lahore High Court orders allowing him to leave the country – to verify the facts.

In the petition, the former prime minister had said that the Punjab government was politicised his health issue and acted maliciously as part of a planned strategy. Thus, the application for suspending the sentence after the expiry of two months was rejected, it added.

When the court asked Haris about the latest status of the PML-N supremo, he said although Nawaz wasn’t in the hospital, his health issues required him to stay in London.

This argument was in line with the petition which read, “However, in terms of the Hon’ble Lahore High Court’s order dated November 16, 2019, periodical medical reports of the applicant showing that he had still not regained his health were continuously filed with the learned registrar.”

It added that the last medical report submitted to the court showed that the PML-N supremo did not regain his health and had effectively been advised to remain in the UK for treatment.    

Earlier, Maryam left Murree for Islamabad to attend the much-awaited court proceedings as charged party supporters accompanied her during the journey. 

Later, a large number of party workers, supporters and admirers welcomed her at Bhara Kahu outside the Islamabad city.

Talking to media after appearing before the court, Maryam said the entire world saw the manner in which Nawaz had been sentenced, as she cited the Arshad Malik episode.

“If Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif can appear before the law then why others couldn’t,” she remarked and added that she had never occupied any government office. 

Maryam said Nawaz was currently undergoing treatment in London shouldn’t return to the country and that he should not return without completing the process. The country cannot afford more damage, she remarked. 

Meanwhile, the administration had made strict security arrangements on the occasion as over 1,000 policemen and other personnel surrounded the court premises and the roads leading to the building.