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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to issue permanent arrest warrants against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in corruption cases.

A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani, on Wednesday, heard the appeals of the NAB and convicted persons including Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and Capt (retired) Muhammad Safdar in corruption references pertaining to Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Flagship Investment, and Avenfield property.

The IHC bench, on the request of Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt (retired) Muhammad Safdar, deferred the hearing. They informed the bench that their counsel Amjad Pervez could not come due to his engagements at the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Amjad Pervez had submitted an application informing that he could not attend the proceeding due to his engagements at the LHC.

The NAB Prosecutor, Jahanzeb Bharwana, requested the court to issue permanent arrest warrants against ex-PM Nawaz Sharif in these cases as he was continuously absent and not appearing before the court deliberately.

At this, Justice Farooq said Nawaz Sharif had been declared absconder in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference and asked the NAB and Nawaz’s counsel to assist the court how his appeals should be proceeded.

The bench asked them to assist the court that whether a pleader of Nawaz Sharif could be appointed in this matter.

The court said Maryam Nawaz and Safdar Awan could file application requesting for exemption from hearings due to COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Later, the IHC bench adjourned the case until last week of May.

In these cases, the NAB had filed appeals against the acquittal of Nawaz Sharif from Flagship Investment reference and also pleaded to extend his imprisonment sentence in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference. Nawaz Sharif had moved appeals against his imprisonment sentence in Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfiled Property references, while his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Safdar had challenged their imprisonment sentence only in Avenfield apartments case.

Previously, the same two-member bench of the IHC had declared former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender in two corruption cases of Al Azizia and Avenfield cases.

The IHC bench had also summoned the guarantors of the former prime minister to appear before the court in person on the next hearing to be held on December 9 which was later adjourned.

In the order, the court had noted that a number of opportunities were given to Nawaz but he failed to appear before the court.

The bench directed to initiate further proceedings under section 514 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The court also directed the prosecutor of the NAB to present the case law regarding the criminal procedure in this matter.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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