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Pakistan

Web Desk
August 20, 2020

IHC disposes of Nawaz Sharif's petition challenging 'fugitive' status

Pakistan

Web Desk
Thu, Aug 20, 2020
IHC dismissed the petition after former prime minister directed his lawyer to take pack plea filed last week. Photo: File

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday disposed of a plea filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in which the latter had challenged an accountability court decision declaring him a fugitive in the Toshakhana Reference.

A two-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah had heard the petition.  The matter was closed after Sharif requested to withdraw his petition.

In the last hearing, the IHC had summoned the official records pertaining to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to ascertain whether the PML-N supremo was out on bail or absconding.

Justice Minallah had asked Nawaz's counsel whether Nawaz's bail had expired and what was his status if it had been cancelled.

Justice Farooq, on the other hand, remarked that the court had told the government of Punjab to look into the matter of bail extension; therefore, the bail the IHC granted to the accused had become ineffective.

As far as the IHC's verdict was concerned, the accused had apparently become a fugitive the court had observed.

To which Nawaz's legal representative said the bail was still functional. A request had been submitted to the government of Punjab, the counsel added, noting that he did not have a copy of the order.

The court had later accepted a request from Nawaz's lawyers for an extension in providing arguments for admissibility of the petition in the court.

However, the court in its written orders had said two appeals from the former premier were pending in this court. It had also inquired as to what was the status of his eight-week bail.

Last week, Sharif had challenged the summons and arrest warrants issued against him by an accountability court in the Toshakhana reference.

The PML-N supremo had filed a petition in the IHC through Barrister Jehangir Jadoon requesting the court nullify the accountability court’s decision to issue an advertisement for his arrest.

Sharif had also requested the IHC to nullify the accountability court’s decision to issue his arrest warrants. The petition added that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was “targeting the opposition to suppress its voice”.

“Nawaz Sharif is not a fugitive but is abroad undergoing treatment and should be allowed to face trial through his representative,” the petition had pleaded.

The reference, filed by NAB, accuses the former prime minister, and former PPP president Asif Zardari of obtaining luxury vehicles from the Toshakhana — the state gift depository — allegedly after paying very low prices for the cars.

The bureau has further alleged that then-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani facilitated Zardari and Nawaz in obtaining the cars.