In a significant development, the accountability court in Islamabad has suspended the permanent arrest warrant of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Subsequently, the Islamabad High Court has granted him protective bail until October 24. This decision stems from the ongoing case related to Toshakhana vehicles.
Judge Muhammad Bashir of the Accountability Court, in a reserved decision, accepted Nawaz Sharif’s request for suspending the arrest warrant. The court has ordered him to appear before it on October 24. The proceedings began when Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, Qazi Misbah, appeared in court.
Qazi Misbah Advocate argued that permanent arrest warrants were issued as an advertisement. He added that Nawaz Sharif is returning, and the court has the option to cancel the arrest warrant.
Judge Muhammad Bashir emphasized the need to review the case’s record. NAB prosecutor Sohail Arif also appeared in court.
Qazi Misbah Advocate pointed out that no security bond had been filed in the Islamabad High Court in this case. He likened the situation to the case of Ishaq Dar when the court canceled the warrant on September 9, 2020.
The court inquired why Nawaz Sharif had not appeared for so long. The lawyer explained that he had been seriously ill when he went abroad, and the Lahore High Court had granted him permission for medical treatment abroad. Pending this matter, they have submitted Nawaz Sharif’s latest medical reports.
NAB Prosecutor Sohail Arif noted that interim relief had been sought in this application.
Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer emphasized that they would appear in court on October 24, and there was no NAB arrest warrant in this case, only a permanent arrest warrant was in effect, and they were willing to appear in court.
The NAB prosecutor clarified that the arrest warrant was solely for the presence of the accused and suggested that Nawaz Sharif could request the Senate to cancel the permanent arrest warrant.
Following arguments from both sides, the court reserved its decision on the application.
This development pertains to Nawaz Sharif’s protective bail application, which was heard in relation to the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references. Chief Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb presided over the hearing.
Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, Azam Nazir Tarar, mentioned that the accountability court had also canceled the permanent arrest warrant, which had been suspended by the trial court.
The court inquired about the existence of the order, to which Azam Nazir Tarar explained that the order had been issued, and lawyers were coming from the accountability court.
During the proceedings, the court noted that the NAB prosecutor had previously stated they had no objection to the security bond. The NAB prosecutor clarified that their current position was that they had no objections to Nawaz Sharif’s appearance.
After a brief hearing, the Islamabad High Court granted protective bail until October 24, with an order preventing Nawaz Sharif’s arrest upon his return to Pakistan. The court also requested a written response from NAB regarding Nawaz Sharif’s non-objection to protective bail.