LAHORE: A Lahore High Court full bench on Monday deferred hearing of a petition seeking treason case against two former prime ministers - Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi - and a journalist.
Mr Abbasi and journalist Cyril Almeida appeared before the bench along with their counsels. However, Advocate Naseer Bhutta filed an application on behalf of Nawaz Sharif seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance before the bench.
Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, head of the bench, pointed out that the application for the exemption lacked a mandatory affidavit of the applicant. Advocate Bhutta said the application will be filed afresh along with the required affidavit. Advocate Ahmad Rauf, counsel of Mr Almeida, asked the bench to allow his client to visit abroad. The bench directed the counsel to file an application to this effect, which will be decided in accordance with law. To a court’s query, Advocate Rauf maintained that Mr Almeida did not possess nationality of any other country.
The bench adjourned hearing until 19th November as counsel of the petitioner was not available due to his engagement in Islamabad. The counsel was supposed to start his arguments in support of the maintainability of the petition. Justice Atir Mahmood and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir are the other members of the bench.
In this case, all the three respondents have already submitted their written replies denying all the allegations levelled against them in the petition. The petitioner had pleaded that former premier Nawaz Sharif on May 11, 2018 during his interview to a national Daily stated that “those who attacked a hotel in Mumbai were actually belonged to Pakistan.”
The petitioner said a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) was held to discuss the ‘misleading’ media statement of the disqualified prime minister. After the meeting, the petitioner said, then PM Abbasi met Sharif only to convey him the concerns of the military leadership and minutes of the meeting.
The petitioner said the act of Mr Abbasi was a clear violation of his oath as he was bound not to allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct. The petitioner pleaded that the disqualified premier committed sedition by rejecting the statement of the NSC and was liable for an action as directed in Article 6 of the Constitution as well as in Pakistan Penal Code.