ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday pleaded the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to dismiss a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif seeking suspension of his prison sentence in the Al-Azizia reference till the court reaches a verdict on the case.
In an 18-page reply submitted to the court, NAB declared the petition redundant and stated, “In the instant matter it is admittedly and evidently submitted that the instant constitution petition is the second petition to an earlier writ petition bearing no 32 of 2019 which has been filed with identical prayer that of the instant constitution petition and after hearing arguments in the honourable court has fixed for hearing the same on 18-02-2019 along with the main appeal under section32 of NAO, 1999 instituted by the petitioner.”
Quoting the provisions of Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Court,1907, the NAB response further added, “No court shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between some parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title where such a suit is pending in the same or any other court in [Pakistan] having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in any court beyond the limits of [Pakistan] established or continued by the central government and having like jurisdiction or before the [Supreme Court].”
In addition, Section 9a of NAO, 1999 is also mentioned that particularly deals with public office holders and corrupt practices along with Section 9b of the same, whereby it states that “all offenses under Section 9 of the NAO are non-bailable and no court shall have the jurisdiction to grant bail even to an accused in custody.”
The response offers detailed law based reasoning and quotes other cases where bails were granted to the accused if the decision on the case in question was delayed more than a certain time and remaining in custody was becoming torturous for the accused.
NAB also pointed out that “before admitting an accused person to bail on the ground of hardship caused by a shocking unconscionable or inordinate delay a High Court or this court also looks for the reasons for the delay and if some significant or noticeable part of the delay is found to be attributable to the accused person then the relief of bail is withheld from him.”
The response maintains that there are no unnecessary delays in the case which may warrant the suspension of Nawaz’s sentence and hence deems that the instant constitution petition “merits dismissal”.
According to the detailed document the previous writ petition did not contain the medical grounds “and thus cannot be referred to by virtue of the provisions of Order-II rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 1908.”
The NAB response concluded by praying the court to dismiss the petition and declared it “neither maintainable nor competent”.
Earlier, Nawaz filed an application seeking the suspension of the jail sentence handed to him in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference on medical grounds.
The plea, which was filed by Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris, was heard by the bench on January 28.
As the hearing went underway, Haris claimed that “the new medical report of his client [Nawaz Sharif] was issued on January 22”.
During proceedings, Justice Aamir asked the lawyer what was new about this plea to which he said that his client’s family was worried about his health. Haris appealed to the court to summon the reports of the medical board, complaining that test reports of the former prime minister had not been provided to them.
When questioned by Justice Aamir regarding the formation of a new medical board, the lawyer responded that he has not heard anything of that sort from an authentic source, except television channels.
“As per the issued report, Nawaz Sharif’s kidney was diagnosed with a third-stage disease,” Haris said while reading the report aloud.
Following this, IHC summoned all medical reports of the former prime minister and adjourned the hearing.