Islamabad: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s legal team has filed two protective bail petitions in the Islamabad High Court ahead of his scheduled return to Pakistan on October 21. The petitions aim to prevent authorities from arresting Sharif upon his arrival.
Sharif, 73, was convicted in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia corruption cases in 2018 and declared a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicles case in 2020. He left for the UK in 2019 for medical treatment while on bail in these cases.
Sharif’s legal team is seeking protective bail to allow him to surrender before the court, emphasizing his intention to submit to due legal process and avail remedies as per the law. They have requested the court to prevent his arrest at the airport upon his return.
The petitions highlight Sharif’s health issues, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the reason for his delayed return. They argue that any notion of deliberate abscondence is inconsistent with his exemplary track record. Despite his health concerns, Sharif is returning at a time when Pakistan faces severe economic and other crises.
Sharif’s lawyer, Amjad Pervez, has urged the court to grant protective bail, citing past instances where absconders were granted protective bail to facilitate their surrender. The court issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the anti-corruption watchdog responsible for the cases against Sharif, and adjourned the hearing until Thursday.