ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Saturday challenged approached Islamabad High Court (IHC) his arrest warrants in the Toshakhana reference.
An accountability court in Islamabad in June issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Sharif in the reference that accused him, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani of receiving luxury vehicles and gifts from Toshakhana. The court also decided that since he was abroad, the warrant against him will be published in foreign newspapers.
Sharif, in his petition, requested the court through his counsel, Jahangir Jadoon, to nullify the court’s decision to issue an advertisement for his arrest.
He also requested the IHC to nullify the accountability court’s decision to issue warrants. The petition claimed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was targeting the opposition to suppress dissenting voices.
“Nawaz Sharif is not a fugitive but is abroad undergoing treatment and should be allowed to face trial through his representative,” the petition stated.
The plaintiff also mentioned the rights organisations including the Human Rights Watch have also questioned the bureau’s accountability drive.
According to the NAB reference, filed in March this year, Gilani had been accused of illegally allotting cars to Zardari and Sharif.
Khawaja Anwar Majeed and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, owners of the Omni Group, were also nominated as accused in the reference.
The reference states that Zardari and Sharif obtained cars from Toshakhana by paying 15 per cent of the price of the cars. The bureau further alleged that Gilani facilitated Zardari and Nawaz in this regard. He dishonestly and illegally relaxed the procedure for the acceptance and disposal of gifts, issued by the government of Pakistan vide Cabinet Division’s Memorandum No.9/8/2004-TK dated June 25, 2007, which expressly stipulates that vehicles shall not be allowed to be purchased by the recipients and be given to the central pool of care of the Cabinet Division.
Reference further states that Zardari accepted and received the armoured vehicles as gift from the United Arab Emirates (BMW750 Li model 2005, Lexus Jeep model 2007) and from Libya (BMW 760 Li model 2008) in September-October 2008. It was obligated to immediately report and deposit the vehicles with Toshakhana of Cabinet Division but he neither reported the gifted vehicles nor despoiled the same.
The NAB reference alleges that Sharif did not hold any public office in 2008. However, from April to December 2008, without giving any application or request to then prime minister Gilani, dishonestly and illegally obtained relaxation for his benefits of the procedure for the vide Cabinet Division’s above said Memorandum which expressly stipulate that vehicles shall not be allowed to be purchased by the recipients and be given to the Central Pool of cars of the Cabinet Division.
“Nawaz Sharif knowingly and with dishonest intention obtained illegal favour in connivance with the then prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani by obtaining the relaxation of said procedure for the acceptance and disposal of gifts,” reference states.