Pakistan Court Issues Non-Bailable Arrest Warrant Against Nawaz Sharif
A court in Pakistan on Tuesday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for failing to appear during the hearing of his appeal against conviction in a corruption case.
A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani took up Sharif's appeal in Al-Azizia steel mills corruption case.
Sharif, 70, has been in London since November last year after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for four weeks for treatment.
The three-time premier, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield properties case on July 6, 2018. Sharif was also sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. But Sharif was bailed out in both cases and also allowed to go to London for medical treatment.
Sharif's lawyer, Khawaja Haris Ahmed, last week filed a review petition in the Islamabad High Court stating that his health condition would not allow him to return home from London and surrender in a corruption case. He also submitted the former premier's latest medical files attested by London-based consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Dr David Lawrence.
The court had warned Sharif to surrender by Sept. 15 before his appeal was taken up for regular hearing. Since he could not comply with the order, the court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant and adjourned hearing until Sept. 22.
The court also rejected Sharif's plea seeking exemption from the hearing and directed to initiate proceedings to declare him as proclaimed offender. It also turned down another plea to continue the case hearings through a legal representative.
The court rejected the argument by his lawyer that Sharif was suffering from medical complication and would come back after treatment.
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 the street, prompting calls from within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to bring him back.