IHC defers decision to declare Sharif proclaimed offender

Updated November 24, 2020

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Islamabad, Nov 24 (IANS) The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday deferred decision to declare deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender until December 2.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard appeals filed by the former premier against his conviction in Al Azizia and Avenfield references, Geo TV reported.

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 the further adverse process.

The bench also heard appeals filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the accountability court decision to acquit Nawaz in Flagship reference.

Director Europe at the Foreign Office Mohammad Mubashir Khan submitted a report before the bench, stating that Nawaz is aware of court proceedings.

"The news regarding proclamation came on print and digital media both locally and internationally. He also received court summons through Royal Mail."

"We are satisfied that every measure was taken to ensure Nawaz's appearance in court," said Justice Farooq.

The bench decided to record 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.

An accountability court convicted Nawaz in the Al Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment reference, disqualifying him from holding a public office for 10 years and imposed a fine of R1.5 billion and $25 million.

In the Avenfield reference, Nawaz was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. He was acquitted in the Flagship reference.

These references were filed by the anti-graft watchdog following the Supreme Court verdict in panamagate.

Nawaz was granted eight-week bail last year in the Al Azizia reference on medical grounds. The bail duration lapsed in February.

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