IHC orders govt to arrest Nawaz, present him before court

Issues non-bailable warrant after rejecting plea against surrender order: Remarks he does not deserve relief or bail

By: News Desk      Published: 03:57 PM, 15 Sep, 2020
IHC orders govt to arrest Nawaz, present him before court

In a major development, the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday decided that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif did not deserve any relief or bail and he should surrender himself before the hearing of his appeals against conviction in Al Azizia and Avenfield references. 

Moreover, the IHC said he should be arrested and presented before the court while issuing non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz and adjourning further hearing till September 23. 

The court also rejected the request to allow him to be represented by a counsel in his absence as the orders were passed as a two-member bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani was hearing the miscellaneous pleas related to the appeal filed against the conviction in Al Azizia and Avenfield references.

One of these pleas was about reviewing the surrender orders passed the same bench and other for exempting Nawaz from in person during the hearing of appeals against the conviction in two references.

Khawaja Haris, the counsel for Nawaz, said his client wasn’t a proclaimed offender and did not leave the country on his own or without informing anyone, as he was permitted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on medical grounds.

In his arguments, Haris said the court had to determine whether his client was a proclaimed offender or not, but the appeals against his conviction must be decided on merit even if it declared he was an absconder.

 At this, Justice Aamir observed that the government did nothing while Nawaz was in London and told Haris, the counsel for Nawaz, that he explained through his argument what their plea was. 

The counsel reminded the two-member bench that the special court hearing the high treason case conducted the trial and announced verdict after declaring Pervez Musharraf a proclaimed offender.

Trial cannot be stopped using an accused’s absence as an excuse, Haris argued and added that the court had the powers to appoint a counsel for him who lost the privilege of nominating a person in his behalf after becoming a proclaimed offender.

The counsel for Nawaz also mentioned that Musharraf was allowed to be represented by his lawyer – a relaxation that could be granted in extraordinary circumstances.

Apart from the high treason case against Musharraf, he also noted that Nawaz had been declared a proclaimed offender by another court [an accountability court in Toshakhana reference] without hearing him.

Meanwhile, the NAB prosecutor insisted that the plea should be rejected as Nawaz had to surrender before the appeals could be heard. 

During the previous hearing on Thursday last week, the IHC had sought arguments from both sides on whether the appeals filed by Nawaz could be heard in his absence and observed that the decision about providing relief to him will be decided on September 15.

Nawaz had requested the IHC a day earlier to review its earlier decision in which he was ordered to surrender before the court in connection with the appeals filed against his conviction in Al Azizia and Avenfield references.

On September 1, the IHC had ordered the former prime minister to surrender as it rejected a plea filed to get an exemption from appearing in person for the hearing of appeals.