LAHORE – Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif appeared before the Lahore High Court on Monday in a high treason case lodged against him.
A three-member full bench, headed by Justice Mazhar Ali Naqvi, heared the treason petition against former prime ministers Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Nawaz Sharif for which strict security measures were put in place.
Sharif’s successor Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also appeared before the court while Journalist Cyril Almeida along with the editor of a leading English newspaper, Zafar Abbas also turned up for the crucial hearing.
At the onset of the hearing, the bench wondered where Nawaz Sharif was to which the former premier replied: I am here while standing up from his seat.
The Lahore High Court also withdrew the arrest warrants issued against Cyril Almeida and also ordered that his name be struck off the Exit Control List (ECL).
After a brief hearing, the court adjourned the hearing till October 22.
The elder Sharif was directed to appear before the High Court as he failed to appear during the last hearing, on September 24th.
During the last hearing, defence counsel Advocate Naseer Bhutta informed the court that the former premier was unable to appear before it owing to the demise of his wife Begum Kulsoom; he further requested the court to fix the hearing for a date after his wife’s chaliswan (a ritual that marks the end of the 40-day mourning period).
Accepting to the postponement request, Justice Naqvi fixed the hearing for today.
What’s the Case
A petition was filed by Advocate Azhar Siddiqui, alleging that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi shared crucial details of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting with Nawaz, following latter’s statements on the Mumbai attacks.
By leaking details of the NSC, Abbasi committed high treason, the petition argues.
The petitioner had also argued that Nawaz’s controversial interview to a leading English newspaper had dented the country’s image and sovereignty; he further alleged that Abbasi supported Nawaz in the matter.
The petitioner pleaded the court to order a treason trial against the three respondents including journalist Cyril Almeida.