Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IHC issues proclamation against Nawaz in two cases

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday issued a proclamation against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia and Avenfield references and directed that it be published in two leading newspapers.

The court asked Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar to deposit the proclamation’s publishing cost with daily Dawn and Jang. Through the proclamation, the court asked Mr Sharif to surrender himself in 30 days to avoid further adverse process.

In case the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader remains absent even after the expiry of the given period, the court would declare him a proclaimed offender and order attachment of his properties.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the IHC bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, recorded the statement of Director Europe at the Foreign Office Mohammad Mubashir in the courtroom and of First Secretary Dildar Ali Abro and Consular Rao Abdul Hanan through video link from the Pakistani High Commission in London.

They apprised the court of the efforts made to serve non-bailable arrest warrants  on Mr Sharif.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzeb Khan Bharwana informed the court that the process to serve warrants had been completed and it could now issue the proclamation of the accused.

The IHC’s proclamation was issued to inform Mr Sharif to join the appeals against his conviction in Al-Azizia and Avenfield references.

The court had granted bail of eight weeks to Mr Sharif last year in Al-Azizia reference on medical grounds which lapsed in February.

The reference pertains to the Sharifs being unable to justify the source of funds used for setting up Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment in Saudi Arabia, making it a case of owning assets beyond means.

Arshad Malik, the accountability court judge who was removed for misconduct on Dec 24, had convicted Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference and imposed a fine of Rs1.5 billion and $25 million on him. A 10-year disqualification from holding a public office was also part of the sentence.

The disqualification would go into effect following Mr Sharif’s release from jail after serving the seven-year sentence.

Days before the 2018 elections, Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, seven years and retired Capt Safdar to two years in the Avenfield properties case.

The reference, which pertains to the purchase of four flats in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, was among three cases filed by NAB against Mr Sharif and his children on the Supreme Court’s order in the July 28 Panamagate verdict.

Accountability Court Judge Azam Khan has already declared Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender and attached both his movable and immovable properties for absconding in the Toshakhana case.

According to NAB’s report, Mr Sharif owns more than Rs200,000 in four active bank accounts and a small amount of foreign currency in three other accounts.

Besides these seven active accounts, he has a dormant account in Allied Bank, New Garden Town branch, Lahore, in which Rs397,810 is deposited.

The report says that Mr Sharif has Rs88,150 in MCB Bank, New Garden Town branch, Lahore; Rs16,917 in Standard Chartered Bank, Gulberg branch, Lahore; Rs20,431 in Standard Chartered Bank, Wapda Town branch, Lahore, and Rs88,704 in Al-Falah Bank, Defence branch, Lahore, besides EUR566 in a euro currency account, $658 in a dollar currency account and £498 in a pound currency account in another bank.

It further states: “The reports received from Lahore Development Authority Additional Deputy Commissioner, Additional Deputy Commissioner Sheikhu­pura, Assistant Commissioner Murree and Galiyat Development Authority revealed that the accused Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif owns following immovable properties in his name and in the name of his dependents.”

These properties include 135, Upper Mall, Lahore; agriculture land in Mouza Manak, Badokisani, Mall Raiwind, Sultankay Lahore, Mouza Mandiali Ferozwala and Ferozwattan in Sheikhupura district; a bungalow on Hall Road, Murree and a house in Chhangla Gali in Abbottabad district.

As per the NAB record, Mr Sharif owns a 2010 model Toyota Land Cruiser, two Mercedes cars of models 1973 and 1991 and two tractors of models 2011 and 2015 in his name.

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