The Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted protective bail to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif until October 24 in the Avenfield and Al-Aziza cases. This decision followed the suspension of perpetual non-bailable arrest warrants issued for him in the Toshakhana gifts case ahead of his scheduled arrival in Pakistan on October 21.
Before the recent decisions, he faced non-bailable arrest warrants in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield corruption cases and the Toshakhana gifts case.
Nawaz Sharif, a thrice-ousted former premier, has been in self-imposed exile for nearly four years. He was convicted in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield corruption cases on July 6, 2018, and sentenced to 10 years in prison. In October 2019, the IHC granted him bail for medical treatment in London. However, as his bail expired and he did not return to Pakistan, the IHC declared him a proclaimed offender and absconder.
In today’s proceedings, an IHC divisional bench granted protective bail to Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield and Al-Aziza graft references. The court also sought a written response from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) regarding its stance on the matter.
The accountability court suspended the arrest warrant until October 24 and instructed authorities not to detain Nawaz at the airport when he returns.
Meanwhile, the accountability court, Judge Muhammad Basheer, announced the verdict to suspend perpetual arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif, granting him relief until October 24 and directing him to appear before the court on that date.
The court accepted the request to suspend the arrest warrants after Nawaz Sharif’s counsel argued that he intended to return to the country on October 21 and wished to appear before the court. The NAB prosecutor had no objections to this, given the defense’s claims that they wished to surrender and appear before the court. The court noted that Nawaz Sharif had left the country with court permission before the reference in question was filed, and no other accused had been arrested in this case.