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November 25, 2020

Declaring Nawaz proclaimed offender

Top Story

November 25, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday deferred the decision to declare former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender till December 2.

A divisional bench of Islamabad High Court comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard appeals filed by the former premier against his conviction in the Al Azizia and Avenfield references. During the hearing, Director Europe at the Foreign Office Mohammad Mubashir Khan submitted a report before the bench, stating that Nawaz was aware of the court proceedings. He further said that the news regarding the proclamation came in print and digital media, both locally and internationally. He also received the court summons through the Royal Mail.

Justice Aamir Farooq remarked that they were satisfied that every measure was taken to ensure Nawaz's appearance in the court. The NAB prosecutor requested the court to record the statements of officials who forwarded and posted summons of the PML-N leader to declare him a proclaimed offender.

At this, the court ruled that it will record statements of relevant officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Foreign Office at the next hearing and directed the agency to submit all the relevant records.

The bench decided to record the statements of Federal Investigation Agency officers Ejaz Ahmed and Tariq Masood tasked to comply with its decision to issue proclamation in newspapers and Mubashir Khan, in the hearing fixed for December 2. The court will also decide on declaring Nawaz a proclaimed offender on December 2.

Earlier in October, the bench had issued proclamation against the former prime minister in leading newspapers asking him to surrender himself in 30 days to avoid further adverse process. The bench also heard appeals filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the accountability court decision to acquit Nawaz in the Flagship reference.

An accountability court convicted Nawaz in the Al Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment reference, disqualifying him from holding public office for 10 years and imposed a fine of Rs1.5 billion and $25 million. In the Avenfield reference, Nawaz was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Nawaz was granted eight-week bail last year in the Al Azizia reference on medical grounds. The bail duration lapsed in February.