ISLAMABAD - The federal government on Monday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) about the publication of advertisement in two newspapers for summoning former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia Steel Mills references on November 24. 

The Additional Attorney General also requested the bench to grant permission to publish an advertisement for Nawaz Sharif in two London based newspapers, which was rejected by the bench.

A division bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani conducted the hearing on a plea pertaining to the issue.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar appeared before the court during the hearing and informed the bench about the publication of the advertisement in Pakistani newspapers in compliance of court orders to summon Nawaz Sharif. The Registrar High Court had asked to issue an advertisement on October 19.

He presented a copy of the advertisement before the court and said that the advertisement had been published in one Pakistani newspaper’s Lahore and London editions, while the advertisement in another newspaper was published in the Lahore edition.

The AAG requested the court to publish Nawaz Sharif's advertisement in London's The Telegraph and The Guardian, to which the court enquired that if there was a special reason for this. Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani said that if the court order was implemented, then what else the Federation needed. 

Khokhar said that advertisement should also be published in the newspapers - the Guardian and Telegraph - as these were read in UK. To this, the court said that Nawaz Sharif's advertisement has also been published in English newspapers while its orders have been implemented and it was not necessary to publish the ad in every newspaper.

The court noted that the advertisement had been given in the newspapers which had London edition, adding that it was not necessary to publish a separate advertisement in British newspapers.

After hearing the arguments, the court rejected the request of the Federation. It may be mentioned that Nawaz Sharif's summons in Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield reference were published in Sunday's newspapers. Both advertisements said that Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and fined eight million pound on July 6, 2018 in Avenfield reference. Nawaz Sharif's sentence was suspended in same reference on September 19, 2018 after this he was released on bail.

An appeal was pending in the Avenfield reference before IHC. Nawaz Sharif was required to appear before the court during the hearing. Arrest warrants were issued to ensure that Nawaz Sharif would appear in court on November 24.

Similarly, Nawaz Sharif was awarded 7-year imprisonment sentence and a fine of Rs 1.5 billion in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference. The accused did not appear for follow-up hearing on his appeals after suspension of his sentence and eight weeks bail on medical grounds.