AC issues non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz

Published June 12, 2020
Case pertains to obtaining luxury vehicles, gifts from Toshakhana. — AFP/File
Case pertains to obtaining luxury vehicles, gifts from Toshakhana. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ac­­count­ability Court of Islam­abad on Thursday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz sup­reme leader Nawaz Sharif in a reference that accused him, Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gilani of receiving luxury vehicles and gifts from Toshakhana.

The court directed the Foreign Office to execute arrest warrants against Mr Sharif through the Pakistan High Commission in London.

The special prosecutor of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told the court that Mr Sharif was residing in Avenfield Apartments in the UK. He suggested that the court issue a directive to publish the notice in UK newspapers.

Senator Farooq H. Naek submitted papers of attorney to represent Mr Zardari. He requested the court to exempt Mr Zardari from personal appearance since the courtroom would be filled by the people who would wish to accompany the former president.

Case pertains to obtaining luxury vehicles, gifts from Toshakhana

He argued that at a time when Covid-19 was rapidly spreading across the country, such a gathering would be very risky.

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani informed the judge that since a number of lawmakers had tested positive for Covid-19, he may be given permanent exemption from personal attendance in the court.

The court exempted Mr Zardari from Thursday’s proceedings, but directed him to appear on the next date on June 30.

The reference was filed in the accountability court on March 2.

Accountability Judge Syed Asghar Ali had on May 15 issued summons for Mr Sharif, Mr Zardari, Mr Gilani, Khawaja Anwar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed, owners of the Omni Group, nominated as accused in the reference.

The NAB reference alleged that Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif had obtained cars from Toshakhana by paying 15 per cent of the price of the cars. The bureau further alleged that Mr Gilani had facilitated Mr Zardari and Mr Nawaz in this regard.

He dishonestly and illegally relaxed the procedure for the acceptance and disposal of gifts, issued by the government of Pakistan vide Cabinet Division’s Memorandum No.9/8/2004-TK dated June 25, 2007, which expressly stipulates that vehicles shall not be allowed to be purchased by recipients and be given to the central pool care of the Cabinet Division.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2020

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