ISLAMABAD: The Isla­mabad High Court (IHC) on Friday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for a convicted emp­loyee of M/s Axact in fake degree case.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, while hearing appeals filed by Axact chief executive officer Shoaib Sheikh and others, noted that Nigel Brin Robello did not appear before the court in consecutive hearings.

On a court query, Fed­eral Investigation Agency’s (FIA) special prosecutor Syed Ashfaq Naqvi said that since Robello has fled to Sweden, the agency could not execute the arrest warrant.

Justice Farooq decided to separate the case from the pending appeals and observed that the convict could request for resuming the hearing upon surrender. He recalled that an IHC division bench had separated the case of Nawaz Sharif from the pending appeals of Maryam Nawaz and retired Captain Mohammad Safdar, adding that since these appeals had been decided, it might have consequences for the absconding accused.

Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, the counsel for Shoaib Sheikh, objected to the appointment of special prosecutor to pursue the appeals, arguing that the FIA could not appoint a private counsel.

Additional Attorney General Munawar Iqbal Duggal informed the court that the notification for appointment of Mr Naqvi as special prosecutor was issued by the law ministry.

Mr Khosa filed an application against the appointment.

Another counsel for the convicts requested the court to adjourn the hearing for a longer period, saying senior counsel Abid Zuberi, the incumbent president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, was busy in the Supreme Court.

Justice Farooq remarked that they had been on bail since 2018 when the IHC suspended their conviction. The case has been pending for over four years.

Further hearing was adjourned to Dec 7.

A district and sessions court of Islamabad had in July 2018 sentenced Shoaib Shaikh and 22 others to seven years in prison and acquitted three others accused, including Ayesha Shoaib Shaikh, in the fake degree case.

The court found the 23 accused guilty on four counts. They were awarded three-year rigorous imprisonment under Section 419 of the Pakistan Penal Code, and a fine of Rs100,000 each. They were also handed down seven-year rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs500,000 under Section 468 of the PPC.

The convicts included Shoaib Sheikh, Vaqas Attique, Qasim Bin Masood, Haider Farooq, Sajjad Haider, Rizwan Shah, Afaq Ahmed, Ibadat Zaki, Izhar Tanveer, Syed Shoaib Abbas, Ayub Qamar, Hasnain Rehman, Nigel Brin Robello, Haseeb Ehsan, Kaleem Ashraf, Umar Gul, Daniel Vincent, Richard Adnan, Umair Farooq, Asim Bashir, Muhammad Amjad, Zeeshan Anwar and Zeeshan Ahmed.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

IMF package
Updated 28 Jan, 2023

IMF package

While it is crucial to seek immediate IMF funding to shore up its reserves, the govt shouldn’t focus only on short-term relief.
Dar unpegged
28 Jan, 2023

Dar unpegged

IT is over. Nearly four months after Ishaq Dar descended on the cash-strapped economy with some decidedly outlandish...
Lurking hazards
28 Jan, 2023

Lurking hazards

OVERSIGHT of illegal industrial activity occurring within residential areas in the country is weak, especially in...
Election time
Updated 27 Jan, 2023

Election time

There are concerns whether the ECP will be sufficiently able to protect the integrity of elections if they are held under partisan governments.
SCO invite
27 Jan, 2023

SCO invite

THOUGH India’s invitation to Pakistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation events in Goa later this ...
Call to arms
27 Jan, 2023

Call to arms

ONE way the state abdicates responsibility in Pakistan is by farming out its functions to the private sector. In ...