ISLAMABAD – The accountability court on Thursday issued bailable arrest warrants for deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif in two corruption reference after he failed to show up in the court despite summons.
Judge Mohammad Bashir had issued the warrants in references related to Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of July 20 Panamagate verdict of the Supreme Court.
In the third reference regarding London flats, the court has issued notices to guarantors of Nawaz Sharif.
The court had summoned former prime minister, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar for trial in the NAB references.
Both Maryam and Safdar appeared in the court to face the trial in Avenfield apartments case, but Sharif skipped the hearing as he is in Saudi Arabia after visiting his ailing wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, in London.
As the hearing started, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Harris submitted an application seeking seven-day exemption from physical appearance of his client.
The NAB deputy prosecutor urged the court to dismiss the plea and issue arrest warrants for the former premier,
After hearing the arguments, the court reserved the judgement and later issued bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif on not appearing in the court.
The judge remarked that non-bailable arrest warrants will be issued for the ex-PM if he failed to attend the next hearing. The court has adjourned the case until November 13
Ahead of their appearance, strict security measures have been taken, while the security of the judicial complex is being handled by the Islamabad police and Frontier Constabulary (FC).
On October 19, the had indicted Sharif, Maryam and Safdar in a reference regarding Avenfield apartment in London. A day after, the ex-PM had also been indicted in two other references regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills and other companies.
The sons of Nawaz Sharif – Hasan and Hussain Nawaz – had been co-accused in the three references. They had been declared proclaimed offenders in the cases after they did not show up in the court despite summons. Their cases have also been separated by the court.
The judge had indicted Sharif in the presence of his legal representative Zafir Khan as he was in London to visit his ailing wife.
NAB has filed three references against Nawaz Sharif and his children.
NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and nearly a dozen companies and made Nawaz Sharif and his sons respondents.
The bureau’s Lahore branch prepared a reference regarding Avenfield apartments in London in which the former premier, his three children and son-in-law have been made respondents.
The references were filed in the backdrop of Supreme Court’s July 28 decision in the Panama Papers case in which Nawaz Sharif was also disqualified for concealing his employment with Capital FZE, a firm owned by his younger son Hassan.