IHC reserves judgment over appeals in Panama convictions
Court prayed to dismiss Nawaz’s appeal and hear Maryam, Safdar’s appeals
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The Islamabad High Court has reserved its judgement over an important legal point regarding the fate of appeals in the absence of Nawaz Sharif who is a petitioner in these appeals, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
A division bench of IHC consisting of Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani heard appeals against the convictions of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, its Vice-President Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her husband Capt (R) Muhammed Safdar Awan in Panama references on Wednesday.
Amicus curiae Azam Nazir Tarar and NAB Prosecutor Jehanzeb Bharwana seemed to have reached on the same page as both the lawyers suggested to set aside Nawaz’s appeal while separately fix Maryam and Safdar’s appeals for hearing.
During his arguments, Tarar said the court reserved its right to dismiss the case. There are plenty of precedents of Pakistani courts supporting this argument, he added.
Justice Farooq reminded both Tarar and Bharwana that they were not representing any party here, they were just assisting the court.
Amicus curiae Tarar while giving reference of the judgement of Justice Fazal Karim said that in his judgement it was mentioned to hear the case of the petitioner. The Supreme Court had given a very big and clear decision in the Hayat Bukhsh case. In this case, the apex court had dismissed those appeals in which the petitioners were not present in the court.
He further argued that Dhaka Court, too, had decided to set aside the case in the event of the absence of the petitioner.
Justice Kiyani inquired if the court dismissed his appeal, was it possible that the petitioner could file another appeal at some later stage?
Mr Tarar told the bench if a person was not available and his appeal was dismissed, then he could file another appeal. He said that SC followed the decision of Dhaka Court and Lahore Court. He further informed the IHC that if a person did not surrender and come to the court, then his case could not be heard.
Justice Kiyani asked if the petitioner was an absconder, how could he surrender.
On this, Tarar elaborated that if somebody was a proclaimed offender and was not surrendering, then his appeal would be dismissed.
Justice Kiyani remarked that the court had two appeals. In one appeal there are three people and in the second appeal, there is one person who is not present, he said. Then the judge asked if it was possible that the court hears the case of two people who were present in the court and set aside the appeal of the absentee.
Tarar told the court that it could hear the appeal of those persons who were present in the court and it could dismiss Nawaz Sharif’s appeal.
The NAB prosecutor informed the court that in the Avenfield reference there were three appeals while in the Alazizia reference there were two appeals.
Justice Farooq asked the prosecutor what NAB wanted. Bharwana said to let one appeal be dismissed and the other one be fixed for the next hearing.