- IHC says courts did not allow Nawaz to leave country.
- It says federal cabinet allowed PML-N leader to leave.
- IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issues the order.
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday dismissed a petition seeking contempt of court proceedings against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The petitioner had contended that the prime minister was the guarantor of his elder brother’s return to Pakistan after he gets medical treatment, however, he has yet to return — despite the passage of nearly three years.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, in the order, mentioned that his court could not take up the plea as it was already pending in the Lahore High Court (LHC).
“The petitioner has been heard at length. In response to the court’s query, he has admitted that the petition wherein interim order was passed is pending before the learned Lahore High Court,” the order read.
The order mentioned that the petitioner also admitted that the name of Nawaz was removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) pursuant to the decision of the federal cabinet — subject to certain conditions.
“…the removal of the name from the Exit Control List was not pursuant to an order or direction passed by any Court,” the order read.
The conditions imposed by the federal cabinet were challenged before the LHC and they were suspended and modified vide an interim order, in 2019, the order mentioned.
The IHC noted it appears that the said order was never challenged —neither by the federal government nor the National Accountability Bureau — and, therefore, it stood implemented.
“The petitioner after arguing the matter at length has stated that he does not press the petition so that he may approach the competent forum,” it added.
During the hearing, IHC CJ Minallah also told the petitioner — lawyer Syed Zafar Ali Shah — that he was not imposing a fine on him as he was a senior attorney.
Nawaz arrived in London nearly three years ago in November 2019 in an air ambulance to seek further medical treatment for multiple diseases after he was allowed to leave Pakistan.
He was accompanied by his brother — PM Shehbaz — and a personal physician as he was taken to his London residence at Avenfield apartments.
The former prime minister had arrived in London for a few weeks only and he has been getting regular medical check-ups at the Harley Street clinic.
He decided not to return to Pakistan and initiated his speeches to party workers from London and has been conducting party affairs ever since from here.
There are reports that the PML-N wants him to lead the next elections campaign, but he has not finalised his plan to return to Pakistan.