ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday prayed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to initiate the process to declare former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif absconder as one of his family member had received notices abroad.

The Additional Attorney General (AAG) informed the division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani that Hassan Nawaz had received the court notices against Nawaz Sharif abroad, which were sent through the Royal Mail Service.

The bench was hearing the appeals of Nawaz Sharif against his imprisonment sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield property references. During the course of proceedings, Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that it was clear that former prime minister was aware about the proceedings against him but the court would not move forward on the basis of verbal information only.  

At the outset of hearing, the AAG apprised the court that Pakistan's Consular Attaché in the United Kingdom Rao Abdul Hanan visited Nawaz Sharif's address where a person Yaqoob refused to collect the court notices, which, were later received by his son Hassan Nawaz.

He said the notices could also be sent to Nawaz Sharif through the county court. However, there were legal complexities due to non-existence of an agreement with the UK to bring the accused back to Pakistan, he added.

Justice Farooq remarked that the IHC bench had not passed an order to allow Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad. Even it was not informed that a convict person was permitted to go out of the country.

The court observed that it, however, would follow the legal procedure so that Nawaz Sharif could not express his ignorance about the matter.

NAB Prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana pleaded that the court could direct for issuing an advertisement to summon the former prime minister as one of his family members had received the notices, and on that basis he could be declared a proclaimed offender.

To a bench's query regarding serving the notices to the accused through the county court, a Foreign Office representative said he could apprise the court regarding the time frame after getting information from his department.

The court observed that it could testify the attache, who had implemented the court notices, through video link. NAB Prosecutor Sardari Muzaffar Abbasi said the former prime minister was aware about the court's proceeding against him.