- Nawaz tells IHC he cannot return and surrender
September 9, 2020
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday that it was not possible for him to come before the court and surrender himself.
The PML-N supremo informed the IHC of his inability to return through a review petition filed today against the court's earlier order that had directed him to surrender before it by September 10.
The petition was filed by Nawaz's lawyers, Khawaja Harris and Munawar Iqbal. The application includes recent medical reports and requests the court to go ahead with the hearings in the presence of the deposed prime minister's counsels.
Nawaz informed the court that the undertaking that was taken from him had included the condition that the government would first check in on his health. He also informed the court that the federal government had not made any efforts in this matter.
“The federal government does not have any authentic information about my health,” Nawaz has claimed in his petition. He also added that the doctors have not issued any certificates that would declare him “fit” to return home.
US cardiologist advises against travelling
The medical reports attached with the application also included advice of American cardiologist Dr Fayyaz Shaal.
The US doctor has said that the former prime minister needs an angiography and a surgery in case it is needed.
“Nawaz Sharif should not travel at all in this situation,” suggested the doctor. He added that he agrees with the former prime minister’s physician Dr Lawrence in London.
The cardiologist said that the PML-N supremo should not return to Pakistan till his angiography is done in the UK, adding that travelling amid the coronavirus pandemic is also dangerous.
Dr Shaal added that the former prime minister should also sit in open spaces. He added that Nawaz Sharif was under extreme stress and it may increase if he returns to Pakistan.
Nawaz told to appear by Sept 10
The review plea has been filed a day before the deadline given to Nawaz to surrender before the court.
The IHC had granted Nawaz an "opportunity" to surrender and present himself before the court by September 10.
Last week, a two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had issued the orders while hearing the appeals filed by NAB against the former prime minister's acquittal in the Flagship reference as well as appeals against his conviction in the Al-Azizia reference.
"We are not declaring Nawaz Sharif an absconder," Justice Amir Farooq had observed. "We are giving him an opportunity to surrender before the court."
Nawaz's attorney Khawaja Haris had argued before the court that his client's bail had been approved after his sentence in the Avenfield Apartments reference had been suspended.
He said that the PML-N supremo had been granted conditional bail in the Flagship reference.
"Nawaz Sharif's current status is that he is not out on bail," said Haris. "This is the legal position that he is out on the basis of seeking medical treatment abroad and not on bail."
Justice Farooq responded by saying that Nawaz was granted conditional bail for a specific time. Harris replied that Nawaz's medical reports, which stated that he was ill, were provided to the Punjab government.
"Even then, Nawaz's request for the bail extension was rejected," he said.
In response to the bench's question, Haris replied that Nawaz's appeal for bail extension was rejected by the Punjab government on February 27.
The court then wondered whether the PML-N leader's sentence in the Al-Azizia reference ended after the Lahore High Court's order to the government to take off Nawaz's name from the ECL?
"The IHC suspended Nawaz's sentence in the Al-Azizia reference for a short period. After the LHC's verdict, can the IHC's order be superseded," asked the court.
"It's not like Nawaz Sharif does not want to surrender before the court," said Haris.
The court said that the matter of the ECL was being heard by the LHC whereas the IHC was concerned with the issue of the suspension in sentence and bail.