The Islamabad High Court bench, hearing two appeals by former premier Nawaz Sharif against his conviction in the Al Azizia and Avenfield corruption references, said on Wednesday that he would be declared a proclaimed offender. The court will issue a written order to this effect shortly.
A two-member bench, comprising Justices Aamer Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani, heard the appeals filed by Nawaz himself. During the hearing, the court recorded the statements of the Foreign Office Europe-I Director Mubashir Khan and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official Ejaz Ahmed.
Khan, in his statement, told the court that he had received the advertisements for Nawaz's summons that were issued by the court and had sent them to the Pakistan High Commission in London. The official said that Nawaz was informed about the proclamations through Royal Mail and confirmation of delivery from the mail service was received on November 30.
Deputy Attorney General Tayyab Shah told the court that proclamations issued by the IHC were published in all newspapers in English. A letter was also written to Daily Jang London, he told the court.
The IHC had issued proclamations against Nawaz in October and had directed that it be published in two leading daily newspapers, Dawn and Jang. Through the proclamation, the court had asked the PML-N supremo to surrender himself in 30 days to avoid further adverse process.
In case the former premier remained absent even after expiry of the given period, the court would declare him a proclaimed offender and order attachment of his properties, the bench had said then.
Nawaz is currently in London, where he is seeking medical treatment. The former premier had left last year after developing health problems and has not returned since.
During today's hearing, the statement of FIA official Ejaz Ahmed was also recorded, who said that he was appointed as the head of a team constituted by FIA Punjab to deliver the court's summons at Nawaz's residences. He said that the team had visited Nawaz's residences in Lahore's Jati Umra and Model Town.
Ahmed said that the team met security staff outside the Model Town house who were informed of the court's proclamations regarding Nawaz. The team also called for Nawaz from outside in a loud voice. The FIA team had also taken pictures during the visit to both houses, which were made part of the court record.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Jahanzaib Bharwana urged the bench to dismiss both appeals "on merit" and said that Nawaz can be punished for not surrendering before the court.
"If [he] can be punished [for not surrendering], then the appeals can also be decided on merit," Justice Farooq responded. He told Bharwana to assist the court in the next hearing and present citations regarding how appeals by a proclaimed offender should be treated.
The case was adjourned until December 9. The court will hear both appeals along with two other cases — one filed by the NAB against Maryam Nawaz and another filed by the latter against her conviction in the Avenfield corruption reference.