—SAPM Shazad Akbar says former PM failed to fulfil any condition ratified by him prior to his departure
–Fawad Chaudhry says Nawaz Sharif’s stay in London denting PTI’s narrative
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to approach an accountability court to declare former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a “proclaimed offender” in a reference accusing him of receiving luxury vehicles and gifts from Toshakhana, it emerged on Saturday.
According to media reports, NAB officials have said that the bail granted to the former premier has become ineffective, and he was apparently an absconder now.
Sharif has been residing in London since November last year after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended for eight weeks his sentence in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference and granted him permission to fly abroad for medical treatment.
While any extension in the duration of his stay abroad was subject to a review of his latest medical reports, Sharif, the government claims, failed to update authorities on his health.
Multiple reports suggest the bureau has also decided to inform the IHC that PML-N supreme leader is absconding. The agency will file an appeal in IHC for implementation on Nawaz’s sentence in the Al-Azizia case.
According to APP, the watchdog will also approach the United Kingdom government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the deportation of former prime minister.
The accountability court of Islamabad had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Sharif over his failure to attend the trial proceeding in the Toshakhana reference and had also initiated the process to declare him a proclaimed offender.
Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz on Thursday said that the government will bring back former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan.
‘NO CONDITIONS MET’
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Assistant on accountability Shahzad Akbar said on Saturday that Nawaz Sharif had left the country for treatment on certain conditions and that none of these have yet been fulfilled.
Akbar said that Nawaz was permitted to get medical treatment from abroad on the condition to return within the stipulated time frame. He added that the former premier was bound to submit his medical reports and updates on his treatment periodically to the court, and the Punjab government.
Akbar claimed that Nawaz had not submitted any “such report” to the concerned authorities.
Reviewing the rulings of that time, Akbar said that on October 29, 2019, the former premier was granted bail by the IHC for eight weeks on medical grounds, in the Al Azizia case.
“The bail was given on the condition that after eight weeks, in case he does not recover, the Punjab government will take up the matter under CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) and conduct a proper hearing,” Akbar said.
On November 16, Shehbaz Sharif filed an undertaking in Lahore High Court that Nawaz will return to Pakistan once the required medical procedures are completed, he recalled.
Later, on December 23, after the expiry of the eight-week, Nawaz appealed to the Punjab government for an extension in his bail, Akbar said.
“Because the bail was granted on medical grounds, the Punjab government constituted another medical board. The board demanded fresh reports of Nawaz’s treatment in London,” he told the media, adding that the board was not satisfied with the reports as the PML-N supremo had “not even been administered an injection” over there.
The medical board had then suggested that he should not be given an extension in bail.
After that, three hearings took place this year, on February 19, 20, and 21, where his lawyer, doctor, and members of his party, submitted documents validating Nawaz’s health condition.
On February 27, the Punjab home department passed a decision rejecting the extension in bail, demanding Nawaz’s return to Pakistan immediately and that he should surrender himself to the authorities.
Emphasizing on the significance of the home department’s decision, he said that Nawaz, through his counsel, had filed an application in the Islamabad High Court claiming that he had not received the government’s decision.
Akbar said that the PML-N had, in fact, received the decision. “I have brought this order with me so that someone may send it to him.”
The order has also been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the direction that a letter be sent to the British government.
The letter was then sent on March 2 stating that Nawaz’s bail had expired and that he should be repatriated.
Akbar further said that recently, on August 18, the IHC declared Nawaz “an absconder” as his bail had expired. “The federal government has decided to take matters forward with the help of NAB,” the current premier’s aide said.
“This dual standard of accountability cannot take place in Pakistan as common people who hardly get parole, return [to serve their sentence] and Nawaz — who has been disqualified for life by the Supreme Court and found guilty in two cases — is enjoying his life in London.”
Akbar said that this was not a personal vendetta but in fact the government’s objective to endorse the law.
“The legal standing of the undertaking that Shehbaz had submitted will also be probed as he is responsible for ensuring Nawaz’s return,” Akbar said.
‘SETBACK TO PTI NARRATIVE’
Earlier today, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s departure to London for medical treatment caused a great setback to the narrative of the ruling PTI, as well as the process of accountability.
The federal minister took to Twitter, saying that approaching the British government for the return of the PML-N supremo and an inquiry into medical reports were steps in the right direction.
“Those who played a role in the preparation of the fake reports, they should be turned into examples,” said the minister in the cryptic post.