Tuesday January 18, 2022

IHC grants protective bail to Sharjeel Memon

March 21, 2017

ISLAMABAD: A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Monday granted protective bail till April 5 to Sharjeel Inam Memon who is allegedly involved in a Rs five billion corruption scandal of awarding advertisements to the print and electronic media under an awareness campaign as PPP’s provincial Minister for Information.

An IHC bench granted bail to Memon against two surety bonds worth one million rupees each.The former minister, while sitting in court, seemed calm and composed but coming out of the court got a little scared and questioned his attorney Farooq H Naek if they would arrest him now. Naek replied in the negative.

To a question by the media that whether he is scared, Memon said that there is the law of jungle and Ch Nisar is behind all these cases. Memon was accompanied in the court by two senior attorneys and former chairmen Senate Farooq H Naek and Syed Nayyer Hussain Bukhari. Beside this, Sindh Minister for Transport Syed Nasir Hussain Shah also accompanied him in the court.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor Sardar Muzzaffar vehemently opposed the protective bail to Memon but the division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani dismissed his plea while saying that this is just a protective bail and you cannot argue this on merits.

Sardar Muzzaffar contested that Memon is a proclaimed offender and cannot claim normal rights. He also questioned Memon’s affidavit attached with his petition where the petitioner said that this is his first petition.

Sardar Muzzaffar told the court that Memon on March 6, 2017 had applied for a protective bail before a Lahore High Court (LHC) bench that dismissed his plea. Given this, it is now settled that Memon concealed the facts from the IHC and did not mention that one of his applications was already dismissed by an LHC bench, the NAB prosecutor said.

The IHC bench at that instance said that when a person wants to surrender himself before a court of law, he is no more a proclaimed offender. Why don’t we issue an order that NAB itself provides protection to the accused in reaching Karachi, the IHC bench observed.

Sardar Muzzaffar, however, said that earlier Memon had filed a petition before the Sindh High Court (SHC) seeking bail. The SHC then directed him to appear before the accountability court within 10 days, the NAB prosecutor added.

The IHC bench said that a protective bail is not heard on merits, it is just a facility extended to the accused to reach concerned court of law. The accused wants to surrender before the court and courts always encourage people who want to face legal course of action, the IHC bench observed.

The NAB prosecutor said the accused did not join the investigation and inquiry remained pending as he was a fugitive for two and a half years.The IHC bench then observed that we will not examine this case under Section 497 as it is just a protective bail.

Legal counsel for Memon, Farooq H Naek, advocate, argued before the court that this court granted protective bails to Khalid Humyun Langove and former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani.

After getting bail from the court, Sherjeel Memon, while talking to the media, said that he is grateful to the court. It was easy for him to stay outside the country and avoid legal proceedings. He said that all these cases were formed against him as a tool of political victimisation and on the behest of federal Minister for Interior Ch Nisar Ali Khan.

In his petition, Memon cited the Cabinet Division and chairman NAB as respondents. The petitioner said he fears arrest and implication in a false case where no inquiry is pending against him and no call up notices had been issued.

The petitioner prayed before the court to direct the respondents to desist from fishing and roving inquiries with the liberty of the petitioner in any manner and grant him anticipatory/protective bail to reach concerned court of law. Further, the respondents may be directed not to arrest him.