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ISLAMABAD: The Islam-abad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday said the exit of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan was a “mockery of the system”.

A division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani said, that, when Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar presented a compliance report before the court regarding the former prime minister’s arrest warrants issued by the court.

The bench also admitted a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking cancellation of Sharif’s bail in the Avenfield reference, and issued notices in the matter.

The court also ordered that the statement of the High Commission’s consular Rao Abdul Hanan would be recorded on the next proceedings via a video link on the next hearing to be held on October 7th.

During the course of hearing, the AAG represented the federal government and the NAB Prosecutor, Jahanzaib Bharwana, appeared on behalf of the anti-graft body, while no one appeared on behalf of Sharif as his lead counsel Khawaja Haris last week gave up representing his client after the IHC rejected his application for deferring the issuance of the former prime minister’s proclamation.

The AAG presented the compliance report, and briefed the court about the efforts to arrest Nawaz Sharif.

He informed that Rao Abdul Hanan, an officer of the Pakistani High Commission in the UK, had visited the residence of the PML-N leader in London.

He added that the person at the apartment “refused” to receive the arrest warrants.

He further said every effort was made for the service of Nawaz Sharif’s arrest warrants.

The AAG told the bench that the Pakistan High Commission in the United Kingdom had contacted the Commonwealth Office but the latter said that it was not in their jurisdiction to implement the IHC’s order.

The court observed this means that they [the Commonwealth Office] were not ready to assist us.

It added that the court had to satisfy itself with the evidence that the government tried its best to [ensure] the compliance of warrants.

Justice Farooq said all official documents would be made part of the case record before declaring Nawaz an absconder.

Justice Kayani remarked that the purpose of all this exercise was that if tomorrow the accused comes before the court, he cannot say that he did not know [about the warrants]. He then added that the accused knew that he had defeated the system to leave the country.

He observed that he [Nawaz Sharif] must be sitting in London and laughing at the government and the public.

It is a matter of extreme humiliation.

The court also observed that the federal government should also take care from now on before giving permission to any accused to leave the country.

It also remarked that the time spent on delivering an arrest warrant to an accused could have been spent on providing relief to other litigants.

The case was adjourned until Oct 7th.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020