ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday accepted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s application for withdrawal of his earlier general petition seeking bail and suspension of his sentence in Al-Azizia reference while National Accountability Bureau submitted its reply in his new petition seeking bail on medical grounds.

A division bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of Nawaz Sharif’s application moved through his counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed and granted permission to withdraw the same.

However, the bench deferred hearing in his plea seeking bail on medical grounds till February 18 while NAB submitted its reply in this matter.

The NAB adopted in its reply: “The instant Constitution petition No 352 of 2019 is the second Constitution petition on similar and identical subject matter between the same parties with identical prayer relief and the same is therefore, not maintainable and competent and liable to be dismissed with exemplary costs.”

It stated that in the instant matter it is admittedly and evidently submitted that the instant constitution petition is the second petition to an earlier writ petition bearing no 32 of 2019 which has been filed with identical prayer that of the instant constitution petition and after hearing arguments, the court has fixed for hearing the same on 18-02-2019 along with the main appeal under section32 of NAO, 1999 instituted by the petitioner.

The NAB prosecutor quoted the provisions of Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code,1908, saying, “No court shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between some parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title where such a suit is pending in the same or any other court in [Pakistan] having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in any court beyond the limits of [Pakistan] established or continued by the central government and having like jurisdiction or before the [Supreme Court].”

It added that in addition, Section 9a of NAO, 1999 is also mentioned that particularly deals with public office holders and corrupt practices along with Section 9b of the same, whereby it states that “all offenses under Section 9 of the NAO are non-bailable and no court shall have the jurisdiction to grant bail even to an accused in custody.”

The NAB response also quoted some other cases where bails were granted to the accused if the decision on the case in question was delayed more than a certain time and remaining in custody was becoming torturous for the accused.

It mentioned that “before admitting an accused person to bail on the ground of hardship caused by a shocking unconscionable or inordinate delay a High Court or this court also looks for the reasons for the delay and if some significant or noticeable part of the delay is found to be attributable to the accused person then the relief of bail is withheld from him.”

NAB’s reply said that there are no unnecessary delays in the case which may warrant the suspension of Nawaz’s sentence and hence deems that the instant constitution petition “merits dismissal”.

According to the detailed document the previous writ petition did not contain the medical grounds “and thus cannot be referred to by virtue of the provisions of Order-II rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 1908.”

NAB concluded its response praying the court to dismiss the petition and declared it “neither maintainable nor competent”.