LAHORE: An accountability court on Saturday dismissed an application of former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf seeking exemption from personal appearance in proceedings of a Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) appointments case, and summoned him through arrest warrants for framing of charges.

Advocate Iftikhar Shahid had filed the application on behalf of the former premier and told the court that his client was out of country to attend international conferences as well as for medical examination of his wife.

When asked how Mr Ashraf left the country without the court’s permission, the counsel argued that there was no such restraining order issued by the court. “The court never barred him from going abroad,” he added.

Advocate Shahid pointed out that Mr Ashraf had also been granted exemption from personal appearance in some other cases pending before various courts.

However, the accountability court judge Najamul Hasan turned down the application and issued warrants against the former premier for framing of the charges on April 19.

The judge also dismissed a similar application of former water and power secretary Shahid Rafi and issued warrants against him. The counsel was provided copies of the case.

Advocate Shahid told the media that the dismissal order would be challenged before the Lahore High Court. He said the high court had already granted a stay to Mr Ashraf against any action by the National Accountability Bureau.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2017

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