Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday filed a review petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) stating that it was not possible for him to surrender in the Al-Azizia reference by September 10 (Thursday) and urged the court to forgo the requirement.
The petition was filed by Nawaz's lawyer Khawaja Haris Ahmed who also submitted the former premier's latest medical reports signed by Dr David Lawrence, a London-based consultant cardiothoracic surgeon.
Last week, the high court had directed Nawaz to appear before the court and surrender to the authorities by September 10 or face legal proceedings for absconding.
The bench had issued the directives during the hearing of appeals filed by Nawaz, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar against their convictions in references filed by the National Accountability Bureau.
The former prime minister, his daughter and son-in-law were convicted in the Avenfield properties reference on July 6, 2018. Nawaz was also convicted in the Al-Azizia reference on Dec 24, 2018.
In the petition filed today, Nawaz's lawyer said that the former premier was still unwell.
"The fact of the matter is that [Nawaz] is still suffering from multiple co-morbities [and] his treatment in London has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"As a result, [Nawaz] has not been able to regain his health and all the doctors that have treated him in the past, as well as those who have been treating him since his arrival in London, have strongly advised him not to travel to Pakistan without getting his treatment done."
The petition added that the PML-N supremo's retun to Pakistan at this current time may even prove "fatal".
It added that Nawaz's inability to return to Pakistan was evident from all the medical reports that had been submitted with the application.
The petition stated that the purpose of hearing an appeal under Section 423 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was to decide the guilt or innocence of the appellant.
"But by no stretch of the imagination does the said provision of law insist upon the presence of the appellant before the court, even if such a presence would expose him to the risk of losing his life."
Nawaz has repeatedly submitted that he is "ready and willing" to return to Pakistan and face the due process of the law and justice, the petition said, adding that it was only due to the advice of his doctors that he has been forced to delay his return.
The petition urged the court to forgo the requirement of Nawaz's surrender.
Nawaz had left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for his treatment.
He had submitted an undertaking to the court citing his record of facing the law and justice that he would return within four weeks or as soon as he was declared healthy and fit to travel by doctors.
He was also given bail in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving a seven-year prison sentence in Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore, before he left for London.