ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday summoned the former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “through newspaper advertisements” as arrest warrants by his representatives were not received in London.
The court had ordered the advertisements to be posted in Dawn and Jang newspapers and further directed the federal government to bear the cost of advertisements and the additional attorney general was asked to pay the fees within four days.
The National Accountability Bureau prosecutor in an “informal conversation” with the media said that the advertisment’s proposed text will state that Sharif has 30 days to return to the country. According to Geo TV, he said that the court summons would be pasted outside the court premises and the former Prime Minister’s residence as well.
The Court has been presented with records regarding both arrest warrants for which “an attempt has been made to serve but proved unsuccessful”,
The court also said that the Pakistan Foreign Ministry must send the warrants in a diplomatic bag to the Pakistani High Commission “in a diplomatic bag”.
Justice Amir Farooq asked about the further course of action would be to bring the former Prime Minister back to Pakistan. AB Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzaib Bharwana said that the next stage would be to formally declare him a fugitive.
“It is clear that Nawaz deliberately did not receive the arrest warrants,” he said.
“Nawaz Sharif must be declared an absconder,” urged NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbas quoted by Geo TV.
Officials at the High Commission in the UK told the court that Sharif’s representative “had initially agreed” to receive the arrest warrants against the PML-N supremo but the official changed his mind minutes before the arrival at the Former Prime Minister’s residence in Park Lane.
First Secretary of the High Commission Dildar Ali Abro said that Waqar Ahmed, a secretary to Sharif’s son, called and informed him that he would receive the documents of the former PM in a written reply submitted to the court.
Abro told the court that Waqar agreed to receive the documents at Sharif’s London residence and further informed the High Commission of Waqar’s response.
“It was agreed with Waqar that he would receive the warrants on September 23 at 11 am,” Abro told the court, he said and added that Waqar was also informed that the mission’s Consular Attache Rao Abdul Hanan would hand over the warrants.
“At 10:20 am Waqar called me to apologise and declined to receive the warrants,” Abro told the court.
Hanan in his statement said that he had gone to the former Prime Minister’s residence on September 17 to serve the warrants adding that a domestic employee of Sharif had declined to receive the documents.
In September, the court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Sharif during a hearing over the former prime minister’s petition requesting exemption from appearing before the court.
Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani said that the PML-N chief neither underwent surgery despite citing it as a reason to obtain bail to travel to the UK. “Our bail order has expired, which has its own effects,” the judge said.