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Agencies
October 1, 2020

Nawaz flying off a ‘disrespect’ for the system: IHC judge

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A
Agencies
October 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani has remarked that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif “deceived the government and people” to travel abroad, which was a “disrespect to the whole system”.

A division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Kiyani heard appeals from Sharif and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield properties references on Wednesday.

During the hearing, the court ordered the official who delivered arrest warrants’ notices to Sharif’s address in the United Kingdom to testify via video link.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Tariq Khokhar told the bench that the Pakistan High Commission official Abdul Hannan visited Avenfield apartments and “tried his best to implement the court notices, but a person at the address refused to receive it”.

The court remarked that it had issued non-bailable arrest warrants against the accused and it had to see whether Sharif was “deliberately avoiding” court proceedings against him. Sharif’s counsel had admitted that the latter was aware about his non-bailable arrest warrants.

The AAG further informed the court that the Commonwealth Office had told the Pakistan High Commission on contact that implementation of the IHC’s orders did not fall under its jurisdiction.

To this, the bench noted that this means the “Commonwealth office is not ready to facilitate Pakistan in this regard”, adding that it had to be proved with evidence that “all efforts were made to implement the notices”.

Additional Prosecutor General NAB Jahanzeb Bharwana said the accused was aware about his arrest warrants. Justice Kiyani observed that the former prime minister would be unable to claim on his return later that he was unaware about his arrest warrants.

The accused “deceived government and people to travel abroad,” he said and remarked that it was “disrespect of [the] whole system”.

Justice Kiyani said several applicants could be given relief in the time and resources which were being spent on just serving notices to the accused abroad. “Thousands of cases are pending here but time is being wasted on this one case only,” he observed.

The bench asked whether it could write in its orders that the accused “had hidden somewhere when he was making speeches”. The court observed that it would move forward its proceedings under the legal procedure.

The bench ordered Pakistan High Commission’s official Abdul Hannan to testify through video link and also sought comments from the government regarding the implementation of notices.

The same bench accepted the NAB’s appeal for hearing seeking the cancellation of Sharif’s bail in the Avenfield properties case as well. Afterwards, the hearing was adjourned till October 7.