ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday informed the government that it had allowed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader, a convict, to go abroad without informing the court and now it was their responsibility to ensure Nawaz Sharif’s return.
Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar addressed a bench comprising of IHC Justices Aamer Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and said the Foreign Office (FO) implemented without delay the court-issued non-bailable arrest warrants through the Pakistan High Commission in the UK. “A man named Yaqoob refused to receive the warrants,” Khokhar told the court.
“The federal government allowed the convicted criminal to go abroad,” Justice Kayani observed, adding that the government had put Nawaz’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL) but had later removed it.
“The government should have at least informed this court,” the judge said. “We have to decide on the appeal and we are waiting for the appearance [of the convict].”
“We will not pass an order seeking the return of a convicted man. You gave him permission to go abroad hence it’s up to you now to take steps to ensure his return,” he added.
“In Pakistan, a convicted man left the country and no one bothered to ask or tell the court,” the IHC lamented.
The additional attorney general also responded in affirmative to Justice Kayani’s question on whether the address was that of London’s Avenfield apartments, saying it was the PML-N supremo’s son, Hasan Nawaz, who “received the warrants sent through the Royal Mail”.
Speaking to a local news outlet, Hasan denied receiving any document from the High Commission.
“I have never used SS in my name; the signature shows ‘Hassan,’ which is not me. I do not sit in the reception of my building to receive mail for 25 flats in the building.
Nawaz had earlier informed the IHC that he couldn’t return to Pakistan and through a review petition against the order that had directed him to surrender before the court by September 10.
The petition was filed by Nawaz’s lawyers, Khawaja Harris and Munawar Iqbal. The application included recent medical reports and requests the court to go ahead with the hearings in the presence of the deposed prime minister’s counsels.
Nawaz had informed the court that the undertaking that was taken from him had included the condition that the government would first check in on his health. He had also informed the court that the federal government had not made any efforts in this matter.
“The federal government does not have any authentic information about my health,” Nawaz had claimed in his petition. He had also added that the doctors have not issued any certificates that would declare him “fit” to return home.