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PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan thinks Nawaz Sharif is already a proclaimed offender

Senior PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan says Sharif has violated his bail conditions and the court has full authority to declare the former premier a proclaimed offender

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Aitzaz Ahsan, a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and a prominent lawyer, on Tuesday said that former premier Nawaz Sharif was a proclaimed offender as he had violated the court orders regarding his bail conditions.

Ahsan further claimed that Sharif had taken advantage of ‘forum shopping’ in cases against him, using different courts to win relaxations and relief through a coordinated effort. Sharif had, last year, managed to get bail from IHC instead of the LHC to travel abroad.

Ahsan, while talking to journalist Kashif Abbasi, said that although the court had did not declare Nawaz Sharif as a proclaimed offender in an order issued earlier this week, the former premier had nevertheless violated court orders. The court is fully authorized to reject the Sharif’s appeal on his bail plea, he added.

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He continued that Nawaz Sharif had also been given relaxation in the plane hijacking case in the past. “The verdict must be retained if Nawaz Sharif is found guilty,” he added. He was of the view that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had no powers to nullify the verdict of Lahore High Court (LHC).

“The undertaking of Shehbaz Sharif is not possessing any legal standing as the final decision for the return of Nawaz Sharif is in hands of doctors. It is an unusual case as Sharif flew abroad despite being convicted and penalized. However, it is not unusual for a perpetrator to do this,” he explained.

Read More: Will Nawaz Sharif surrender to court on September 10?

IHC asks Nawaz to surrender before court

Earlier in the day, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) gave a chance to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in London, to surrender before the court.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani was hearing appeals of Nawaz Sharif against his conviction in Al-Azizia and Avenfield property references. The court also took up the appeals of Maryam Nawaz and retired Captain Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield reference.

The court directed the PML-N supremo to appear before it no matter what condition he is in and adjourned the hearing of the case until September 10. Maryam, along with her spouse, appeared in court.

Maryam and Capt Safdar also filed an application with a request for adjourning the Avenfield case until after Sept 5. Legal experts believe that since Nawaz’s case has been separated from Maryam’s case so there is a plausible reason to believe that the former first daughter is likely to get some relief from the court.

Read More: IHC order to surrender: Nawaz Sharif will fall ill again, predicts Shahbaz Gill

Some sources also claim that Maryam is planning to leave for London to see her father as Nawaz is scheduled to be shifted to a hospital. However, such claims could not be independently verified. PML-N leaders declined a request to comment on the said statement.

The accused have been out on bail since Sept 19, 2018, when the IHC suspended the 10-year, seven-year, and one-year imprisonment handed down to Nawaz, Maryam, and Safdar, respectively by an accountability court on July 6, 2018. The Supreme Court later upheld the suspension of their conviction while rejecting the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeal against the high court’s decision.

Some analysts are of the view that Nawaz Sharif is not facing any serious legal challenge here in Pakistan but he is unlikely to return because of some political reasons. Nawaz Sharif seems to have reached some sort of ‘understanding’ with the powers that be in the country. Pakistan’s political history is a witness to such deals in the past. Nawaz himself signed a deal with the former military dictator Pervez Musharraf and left for Saudi Arabia after Musharraf seized power in a coup in 1999.