-Court directs authorities to ensure Nawaz’s appearanceon next hearing
By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
Islamabad: The assistant registrar of the Islamabad High Court on Thursday directed the foreign secretary to ensure the production of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before the said court on September 22.
A letter to the foreign secretary by the assistant registrar stated that the IHC had on September 15 ordered the issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants against Nawaz while hearing the former premier’s application seeking exemption from personal appearance in the hearing of appeals against his conviction in the Al Azizia and Avenfield Properties references.
The foreign secretary has been told to “cause the production of appellant (Nawaz) through High Commission of Pakistan in United Kingdom” by 11am on September 22. Nawaz will also have to appear on any other dates that might be fixed by the court, the letter added.
A copy of the order issued on Tuesday was also attached with the letter.
Earlier this week, the court had issued Nawaz’s arrest warrants while hearing three miscellaneous applications filed by the PML-N supremo seeking to forgo the requirement of his surrender, pursue the appeal through a legal representative and exemption from court appearance.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the appeal.
The IHC had directed Nawaz earlier this month to surrender before the court and appear at the next hearing scheduled for September 10. Shortly after, Nawaz had filed a review petition asking the court to forgo the requirement.
At the next hearing on September 10, the court had questioned whether the appeal of a person, who has been declared a proclaimed offender in a separate case, could be heard by the court and had adjourned the hearing.
Last week, an accountability court had declared Nawaz a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicles reference and initiated the process to confiscate his properties and directed the NAB to make his arrest through Interpol. While separating Nawaz’s case, Judge Mohammad Azam Khan of the accountability court of Islamabad also indicted former president Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani and other accused persons in the Toshakhana reference.
Nawaz had left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for medical treatment.
He had submitted an undertaking to the court, citing his record of facing the law and justice, and that he would return within four weeks or as soon as he was declared healthy and fit to travel by doctors.
He was also given bail in the Al Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving a seven-year prison sentence in Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, before he left for London.
Earlier, Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday released a detailed verdict over its decision to issue an arrest warrant of the former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif.
The detailed judgment of the division bench of the Islamabad court was written by Justice Aamir Farooq and was also signed by the other judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.
The court noted that the lawyers of Nawaz Sharif failed to satisfy the bench, therefore an appeal regarding the exemption of the former prime minister from the hearings is therefore rejected.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has rejected the exemption plea of the former premier Nawaz Sharif and released his non-bailable arrest warrants in Al-Azizia and Avenfield cases on Tuesday.
The pleas of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for seeking his exemption from personal appearance in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield references have been rejected by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
Moreover, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif also announced after the verdict that Nawaz Sharif would not return to Pakistan before completion of his medical treatment.
We respect the judiciary, Shehbaz Sharif said but added that returning to Pakistan without proper treatment could endanger the life of his brother and the PML-N supremo.
He said that right to live was the most important thing and could not be neglected. “The issue here is not Nawaz’s return but his medical treatment,” the PML-N leader said.
Meanwhile, Meanwhile, In an effort to encourage legal business with neighboring countries, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday accorded approval to set up trade markets along Pakistan’s borders with Afghanistan and Iran.
Presiding over a high-level meeting in Islamabad today, PM Imran Khan gave approval to establish 12 markets along Pak-Afghan border and six markets along Pak-Iran border.
The meeting decided to take effective measures to eliminate the menace of smuggling. Briefing the meeting, an official said that the border markets will be made functional by February, 2021.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other high officials were in attendance in the meeting.
Earlier on May 14, Chairing a meeting to review the measures the government had taken to check smuggling and overpricing of essential items in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan had stated no compromise would be made in action against smuggling.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Food Security and Research Minister Syed Fakhar Imam, Adviser to the PM on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and relevant officials were in attendance in the meeting.
Over the course of the meeting, the premier had been informed that an ordinance had been promulgated to curb smuggling of basic food items and currency as it empowered law enforcement agencies to take action against such illegal activities at the country’s airports and frontiers.