Court suspends arrest warrants of Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Accountability Court on Thursday suspended the arrest warrants of  Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif  in Toshakhana case till October 24.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir was hearing the case on Thursday. Earlier the court had reserved the verdict.

After a brief recess, the court announced its verdict of suspending the warrants of Nawaz Sharif till October 24 and ordered that he will not be arrested upon return to the country.

Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, Qazi Misbah, and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor appeared before the court. During the hearing, Sharif’s counsel made an earnest appeal to the court, requesting the cancellation of the arrest warrant issued for his client.

The defense counsel emphasized that Nawaz Sharif is expected to return on October 21 and pleaded with the court to suspend the perpetual warrant until October 24.

In response, the presiding judge raised a pertinent question, inquiring about any directives from the high court. In response, the defense lawyer informed the court that their case was under consideration by the high court today.

The judge, addressing the issuance of perpetual arrest warrants on October 1, 2020, questioned why Nawaz Sharif had not appeared before the court as of yet.

The defense lawyer clarified that Nawaz Sharif had traveled abroad for medical reasons, and his petition remains pending in the Lahore High Court. Notably, this petition remained unchallenged, even during the previous government’s tenure.

The NAB prosecutor conveyed that Nawaz Sharif had applied for interim relief, and NAB advocated for the cancellation of the warrants, further requesting the court to suspend the warrant until October 24.

The judge responded by stating they should await the High Court’s verdict.

Qazi Misbah, the defending counsel, stressed that the case at hand is unrelated to the matter before the High Court.

Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday had filed a petition before the Accountability Court seeking protective bail in the Toshakhana case.

The former premier filed the petition through his counsel requesting the court to suspend the perpetual arrest warrant for him.

In the petition, it was requested the perpetual arrest warrant of Sharif be suspended till October 24 as the former premier wanted to surrender before the court. The court had issued perpetual arrest warrant for Sharif for not appearing before the court.

The NAB had filed the Toshakhana reference against former president Zardari, two former prime ministers, Nawaz and Gillani, and others for allegedly acquiring three vehicles including a BMW 750 Li model 2004, Toyota Lexus Jeep 472 model 2007 gifted by the embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and BMW 760 LI model 2008 gifted by embassy Libya and gifts from Toshakhana-an official treasury where gifts from foreign dignitaries or heads of state are deposited- in violation of rules and regulations.

The accused, Zardari and Sharif, had retained the said vehicles against the nominal payment of 15 percent of the total value of the vehicles.


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