Press Trust of India

Pak to declare Nawaz Sharif as proclaimed offender after Nov 24

Pak to declare Nawaz Sharif as proclaimed offender after Nov 24
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Islamabad: A Pakistani court through newspaper advertisements asked Nawaz Sharif to appear before it by November 24 to avoid being declared a “proclaimed offender” after the former three-time prime minister reportedly refused to receive non-bailable arrest warrants at his residence in London.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday noted that it was left with no option but to order issuance of proclamation for intimating 70-year-old Sharif, who has been living in London since November last year, to appear before it on November 24.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Aamer Farooq observed that the examination of statements of witnesses as well as the documents showed that all out efforts were made for serving the non-bailable warrants of arrest on Sharif to ensure his attendance before the court in the the Al-Azizia and Avenfield graft cases.
On October 7, the court recorded the statements of Dildar Ali Abro, the first secretary (consular affairs), and Rao Abdul Hannan, consular attache, Pakistan High Commission, London, as well as Mohammad Mubashir Khan, director for Europe-I, at the Foreign Ministry.
They told the court that efforts were made in compliance with the court orders to serve the non-bailable warrants of arrest on Sharif to ensure his attendance in the court.
Despite efforts, that service of warrant, issued by the Islamabad High Court on September 15, could not be served.
Irked by the attitude of Sharif’s representatives at his residence in London, the high court on October 7 had ordered that advertisements be issued in newspapers to summon him.
The court directed the federal government to bear the cost of the advertisements in the Dawn and Jang newspapers.
The government later told the court that Rs 60,000 were paid for advertisement in the nominated papers.
The court has asked Sharif to appear before it by November 24 otherwise he would be designated as a “proclaimed offender”. The proclamation may result in the confiscation of his properties as well as passport.
The PML-N supremo was declared a proclaimed offender earlier in September and had refused multiple times to receive the arrest warrant issued in his name.
Sharif has been living in London since November last year after he was allowed by the courts and the government to go there for a period of eight weeks for medical treatment. But he did not come back, while his lawyers told the court that he was still recovering.
However, he made a scathing speech on September 20, blaming the Pakistan Army for its interference in politics.
After the speech, pressure is mounting on Sharif to return to Pakistan to face corruption cases against him.
The court last month issued arrest warrants for Sharif, previously sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption and money laundering charges stemming from disclosures in the Panama Papers.
Sharif was bailed out in both cases and also allowed to go to London for medical treatment in November last year.
In May, a picture of Sharif having tea at a London cafe along with his family went viral on social media, sparking a debate on the seriousness of his health condition.
The government came under further criticism when last month Sharif’s photos surfaced online, showing him strolling in a street, prompting calls from within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to bring him back. (PTI)

Press Trust of India

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