IHC directs foreign secretary to ensure Nawaz’s appearance before court on September 22

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.

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