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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Court declares Nawaz Sharif absconder: Will he return to Pakistan?

Nawaz Sharif has been declared an absconder by an accountability court in Lahore. The court has also issued non-bailable arrest warrants issued against Nawaz. Will he return to Pakistan?

Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister who was disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for not being honest and truthful, has been declared an absconder by an accountability court in Lahore. The court has also issued non-bailable arrest warrants issued against Nawaz on Tuesday in the illegal plot allotment case that also includes Jang group Editor-in-chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and others as accused.

Accountability Court judge Asad Ali while presiding over the hearing of the case also ordered confiscation of Nawaz’s properties.

The court also directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Revenue Department to submit a report on the confiscation at the next hearing. Moreover, the court ordered to start the process of indictment against Mir Shakil at the next hearing.

In an apparent reference to the publishing of Nawaz’s proclamations in a separate case, the court observed that proclamations for Nawaz Sharif’s summons were issued, whereas a report on his summons and absence was also submitted to the court. “Despite the lapse of 30 days, the accused Nawaz Sharif did not appear,” the court remarked.

Muhammad Nawaz Chaudhry Advocate appeared on behalf of accused Mir Shakil, whereas accused Humayun Faiz Rasool and Mian Bashir Ahmed were represented by advocates Haider Rasool Mirza and Rana Mushtaq respectively.

Read More: Does the government really want to bring Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan?

According to NAB, the accused Mir Shakil, with the connivance of the then Punjab Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif, acquired 54 plots measuring one kanal in an area on the exemption. NAB’s reference states that acquiring plots on exemption in one area was a violation of the Exemption Policy 1986.

MRS granted bail

Notably, yesterday the SC granted bail to Mir Shakeel ur Rahman after 200-day detention. He was arrested in Lahore by the NAB on March 12. Nawazish Ali, NAB spokesperson said media tycoon’s arrest made in a case pertaining to the clandestine allotment of a 54-kanal piece of land in 1986 – from the then government of CM Nawaz Sharif.

NAB had been conducting an inquiry against him in the fraudulent activity. His arrest came after he failed to submit a satisfactory reply to the bureau’s questions, said NAB.

Will Nawaz Sharif return to Pakistan?

Raja Amir Abbas, a prominent legal expert and ex. Deputy Prosecutor General NAB, is of the view that the Sharif family may approach the court, and file a petition for retrial- in Al Azizia case – since the alleged confession and subsequent dismissal of Judge Arshad Malik provides a basis.

Raja Amir Abbas had also argued that it is in Nawaz’s interest to get back to Pakistan. “Nawaz would never like to be declared a proclaimed offender. It is not in his interest.  For him, Maryam’s political career is what matters the most,” he added.

Read More: Nawaz Sharif should not go outside, suggest doctors

Raja Amir maintains that there is no such big legal challenge for Nawaz which may stop him from returning to Pakistan. He also thinks that Nawaz had decided to end his political career and let Maryam be part of mainstream politics. Therefore, he insists, it is in Nawaz’s best interest to come to Pakistan. However with the court granting Maryam and Capt. Sardar a separate right of appeal this urgency for Nawaz may now disappear.