Wednesday Sep 30, 2020
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's exit from Pakistan is a "mockery of the system", said the Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench on Wednesday.
The court passed the remarks after Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar presented a compliance report on Nawaz Sharif's arrest warrants issued by the high court.
The report was submitted to the two-member bench, comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Aamer Farooq, hearing the petition filed by the former prime minister against his sentence in the Avenfield apartments.
Khokhar, while briefing the court on the attempts made to arrest Nawaz Sharif, said that Rao Abdul Hanan, an officer of the Pakistani High Commission, had visited the residence of the PML-N chief in London. He added that Eddie, the person at the apartment, "refused" to receive the arrest warrant.
“Every effort was made to enforce Nawaz Sharif's arrest warrant,” the government's lawyer told the court. He also read Hanan's statements regarding the arrest warrant.
After Khokhar’s explanation, Additional Prosecutor General of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Jahanzaib Bharwana informed the court that they were aware of the attempts made to arrest Nawaz Sharif.
Khokhar then told the court that the Pakistani mission in London also contacted the commonwealth office, via telephone, over the warrant. He added that the commonwealth office informed them that it was not in their jurisdiction to implement the IHC's order.
“This means that they [commonwealth office] are not ready to assist us,” observed the court. It added that the court has to be satisfied with evidence that it did its best to comply with the warrants.
“The purpose of all this exercise is so that when the accused comes tomorrow he does not say that he did not know [about the warrants],” remarked Justice Kayani. He then added that the accused knew that he had defeated the system to leave the country.
“He [Nawaz Sharif] must be sitting there laughing at Pakistan's system. It's a shame,” observed Justice Kayani. He added that the court will issue a verdict on the matter.
“The court, the government, the Foreign Office and the high commission are jointly executing a single warrant,” observed the court.
The hearing of the case was adjourned till October 7 as the IHC ordered that the statement of the high commission’s counsellor, Rao Abdul Hanan, will be recorded in the next proceedings via a video link.
Earlier this month, the IHC had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif during a hearing over the former prime minister's petition requesting exemption from appearing before the court.
In the brief ruling, IHC's Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani remarked that the PML-N supremo neither underwent a surgery despite citing it as a reason behind obtaining bail to travel to the United Kingdom nor was he admitted to a hospital.
"Our bail order has expired, which has its own effects," the judge said during a hearing at the IHC over a petition to cancel Nawaz's bail in the Avenfield properties reference.