The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday granted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a chance “to surrender” and appear before the court at the next hearing scheduled for September 10, Dawn reported.
An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani was hearing the appeals of Sharif, his daughter Maryam and her husband, Safdar, against their convictions in the Avenfield reference.
During the hearing, Justice Farooq stated that the court was not declaring the former prime minister an absconder. He said that the court was giving Sharif “one more chance to surrender”.
“We are not taking a final decision as yet,” Justice Farooq said.
According to Dawn, the bench asked Sharif’s lawyer to satisfy the court that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo had not absconded. “The appeal can only move forward when Nawaz appears before the court,” said Justice Kayani.
The lawyer said that Sharif’s fresh medical reports had been received. The reports would be furnished to the court once these had been verified by the Foreign Office. The lawyer added that he had submitted one medical certificate to the court and would submit another.
During the hearing, the court observed that absconding from a court hearing or during a trial was also a crime. “We are not declaring Nawaz an absconder at the moment. But how can the appeal be heard in his absence?” Justice Farooq questioned, Dawn reported.
Earlier on Monday, Sharif assured the court that he would return to the country as soon as he recuperates and maintained that because the Covid-19 pandemic, his treatment in London had been subjected to delay.
The former prime minister had filed an application in the court seeking exemption from appearance in the hearing of his appeal against his conviction in the Avenfield corruption reference, reported The Express Tribune.
In the Al Azizia reference, Sharif requested the court to adjourn the hearing of the case or carry out the proceedings in the presence of his representative.
In his two separate applications, Sharif responded to the questions regarding his recuperation and return to the country.
The former prime minister, seeking exemption from appearance in the hearing, adopted the stance that the matter regarding his departure for treatment abroad was already pending before the Lahore High Court.
He alleged that the Punjab government despite being aware of this fact had neglected his medical reports and rejected his application for extension in bail.
Assuring the high court of his return to Pakistan after recuperation, Sharif noted that his treatment in London was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Express Tribune reported.
He stated that the physicians had advised him to stay at home because of the lockdown.
Earlier while talking to the media, Maryam said her father was anxious to return to Pakistan.
However, she added Nawaz was undergoing treatment in UK which was delayed due to coronavirus.