Pakistan Bar Council vice-chairman expresses ‘disappointment’ at judge passing ‘avoidable remarks’
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday slammed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for his ongoing refusal to return to Pakistan on medical grounds, with one judge claiming it showed he had “defeated the system.”
Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar appeared before a two-member bench of the IHC, comprising Justices Aamer Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, to submit the government’s compliance report on warrants for Sharif’s arrest following his bail lapsing in February. “The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the British government on Sept. 24, 2020 informed [Islamabad] they have no mandate to execute orders of the Islamabad High Court,” he said.
The court said it needs to be determined if Sharif is evading court proceedings on purpose. The additional attorney general claimed that an officer of the Pakistan High Commission had visited the residence of the PMLN leader in London but had been turned away without anyone receiving the arrest warrant. “Every effort was made to enforce Nawaz Sharif’s arrest warrant,” he said.
“The purpose of this exercise is to ensure the accused does not claim in future that he did not know [about the warrants],” said Kayani. “Accused knows that he went abroad after defeating the system. He must be laughing at the system while sitting abroad. It’s a shameful conduct by the accused,” the judge added.
The court also observed that the federal government should take care “from now on” on who it allows to leave the country. It said the time spent on delivering an arrest warrant to the accused could have been better spent on providing relief to other litigants.
Justice Kayani said the accused had been given a fair chance to appear before the court, adding it would give its judgment once the requirements laid down in Section 87 of the Code of Criminal Procedure had been fulfilled.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until Oct. 7.
In a statement, Pakistan Bar Council Vice-Chairman Abid Saqi expressed “grave disappointment” at Justice Kayani’s comments on Sharif, saying this should have been “avoided” at this juncture. “Passing avoidable observations/remarks by the courts while hearing of cases often expose the court and concerned judges to criticism, which at times, undermines the neutrality and independence of the courts and the presiding judges, thus shaking the confidence of the people in the system of dispensation of justice,” he added.