ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court, on Thursday, suspended the perpetual arrest warrant of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Toshakhana case.
Accountability Court judge Muhammad Bashir while announcing the reserved verdict, suspended Sharif’s arrest warrants till October 24. The judge said “if the former premier failed to appear before it on October 24 then his warrant would be restored.”
Former premier’s lawyer Qazi Misbah and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor, Sohail Arif, appeared before the court.
At the start of the hearing, Sharif’s lawyer Misbah requested the court to suspend the arrest warrant of his client in the case as he was returning to the country and wanted to appear before the court.
He further said that his client is returning to Pakistan on October 21.
The judge inquired whether you filed an application in Islamabad High Court (IHC). “In the IHC we have a filed application in another case,” the counsel replied.
What orders the IHC has passed with respect to your application, the judge further asked. The counsel told the court that the “IHC has fixed our application for today’s hearing.”
The counsel informed the judge that his client wanted to appear before the court on October 24.
The judge said the Accountability Court had issued an arrest warrant for Sharif in 2020. “Why did he not appear before the court for such a long time? Tell us any reason,” the judge asked.
Responding to the judge’s query, Misbah said that his client had gone abroad on medical grounds and his petition was still pending before the Lahore High Court (LHC).
The previous government had not challenged the petition pending before the LHC, he said.
During the hearing, the NAB prosecutor did not oppose Sharif’s petition and told the court to suspend the warrant if the accused wanted to surrender. The prosecutor said the objective of an arrest warrant is to ensure compliance with the law.
The judge inquired about the status of other accused including former president Asif Ali Zardari.
To which, the lawyers told the court that no arrest has been made so far in connection with the case. The court, after hearing arguments, reserved its verdict for some time. Later, while announcing its verdict suspended Sharif’s arrest warrants.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023