ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday said that the exit of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan is a “mockery of the system.”

A division bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani stated this after Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar presented a compliance report before the court regarding the former prime minister’s arrest warrants issued by the same court.

The bench also admitted a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking cancellation of Sharif’s bail in Avenfield reference and issued notices in this matter.

The court also ordered that the statement of the High Commission’s Consular Rao Abdul Hanan would be recorded via a video link on the next hearing to be held on October 7.

During the hearing, the AAG represented the federal government and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Jahanzaib Bharwana appeared on behalf of the anti-graft body while no one appeared on behalf of Sharif as his lead counsel Khawaja Haris last week gave up representing his client after IHC rejected his application for deferring the issuance of the former prime minister’s proclamation.

 The AAG presented the compliance repot and briefed the court about the attempts made to arrest Nawaz Sharif. He informed the court that Rao Abdul Hanan, an officer of the Pakistani High Commission in UK, had visited the residence of the PML-N leader in London. He added that the person at the apartment “refused” to receive the arrest warrants. He further said that every effort was made for the service of Nawaz Sharif’s arrest warrant.

The AAG told the bench that the Pakistan High Commission in the United Kingdom had contacted the Commonwealth Office but the latter said that it was not in their jurisdiction to implement the IHC’s order.

The court observed that this means that they [the commonwealth office] are not ready to assist us. It added that the court has to satisfy itself with the evidence that the government tried its best to [ensure] the compliance of the warrants. Justice Farooq said that all official documents would be made part of the case record before declaring Nawaz an absconder.

Justice Kayani remarked that the purpose of all this exercise is so that when the accused comes back tomorrow he does not say that he did not know [about the warrants]. He then added that the accused knew that he had defeated the system to leave the country.

 He observed that he [Nawaz Sharif] must be sitting in London and laughing at the government and the public. It is a matter of extreme humiliation. He noted that Nawaz, while being abroad, was delivering addresses to the entire nation.

The court also observed that the federal government should also take care from now on before giving permission to any accused to leave the country. It also remarked that the time spent on delivering an arrest warrant to an accused could have been spent on providing relief to other litigants.

The bench questioned that whether it could write in its orders that the accused had hide somewhere when he was making speeches. The court observed that it would move forward its proceeding under legal procedure. 

The bench ordered to testify Pakistan High Commission’s official Abdul Hannan through video link and also sought comments from government regarding implementation of notices. 

The court adjourned hearing of the case till October 7.

Meanwhile, the same bench accepted the NAB appeal for hearing seeking cancellation of Nawaz Sharif’s bail in Avenfield property case as well.