An accountability court in Lahore on Friday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) case against him for making illegal appointments in the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) during his stint as federal minister for water and power.

Duty judge Jawadul Hassan rejected an application from Ashraf's lawyer, Advocate Iftikhar Shahid, for a court exemption for his client and instead issued his arrest warrants.

The former premier's lawyer said Ashraf could not appear before the court as he was unwell.

Rejecting the request for his exemption, the judge said that Ashraf's case had entered its final stages and he should have appeared before court today.

NAB has said that the former prime minister misused his powers and appointed 437 people in Gepco from his electoral constituency without any consideration for merit. Former secretary water and power Shahid Rafi, former directors of Gepco’s boards of governors including Saleem Arif, Malik Muhammad Razi Abbas and Wazir Ali were also involved in the same reference, which was filed in 2016.

After issuing the arrest warrants, the court adjourned proceedings till September 18.