ISLAMABAD: As former prime minister Nawaz Sharif failed to surrender before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday, the court gave a week to his counsel to justify pleading case of an absconder in the light of jurisprudence.

An IHC division bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, resumed hearing of an application filed by Mr Sharif seeking hearing on his appeals against his conviction in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references in his absence and in the presence of a pleader.

The bench asked lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed as to what would be the status of the application he filed on Wednesday after the accountability court had declared Mr Sharif proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana reference.

Justice Kayani noted that Mr Sharif, who had secured eight weeks’ bail from the IHC and then proceeded abroad for medical treatment, had not been admitted to hospital so far.

Mr Haris said that the application had been filed to bring into knowledge of the court medical condition of Mr Sharif. He said that the medial team of Mr Sharif did not allow him to travel and advised him to take precautions.

The applications filed on behalf of Mr Sharif states that the medical team has advised Mr Sharif not to travel and to continue routine walk.

The application states that Mr Sharif is “still suffering from multiple co-morbidities, his treatment in London has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, resultantly he has not been able to regain his health, and all the doctors who have been treating him in the past, as well as those who have been treating him since his arrival in London in November 2019 have strongly advised him not to travel to Pakistan without getting his treatment done in London, otherwise his life would be at serious risk.

“The disability of the appellant [Mr Sharif] to return to Pakistan is evident from all the medical reports pertaining to his health that have been placed on the record while there is no material to the contrary by any doctor who may have examined him since he left for London.”

Mr Haris said that as per the agreement that led to rem­oval of Mr Sharif’s name from ECL, the federal government was supposed to send a representative from the Pakistani High Commission in London to verify health condition of the former premier. However, no official has been assigned so far to ascertain health condition of Mr Sharif.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar said that since the Punjab government had rejected the application seeking extension in bail of Mr Sharif, the federal government did not deem it necessary to depute an official to verify his medical reports.

Later, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while talking to the media said that the high court should hear the appeal of Mr Sharif independently.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2020

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