Hussain and Hassan Nawaz, the sons of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, had permanent arrest warrants issued against them; on Thursday, an accountability court in Islamabad postponed the orders until March 14 in connection with three corruption charges linked to the Panama Papers.

Hussain and Hassan had applied to the court, through their attorney Qazi Misbahul Hassan, to have the warrants against them in the Avenfield Apartments, Al-Azizia, and Flagship Investment references suspended.

Today, Judge Nasir Javed Rana of the Accountability Court made the announcement regarding the Avenfield reference.

The court order, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, stated that “both the accused are allowed to surrender before the court, failing which the law shall take its own course.”

It made clear that the defendants, who were also the case’s petitioners, desired to appear in court “in good faith” and submit to legal proceedings.

The order noted that the court agreed with the NAB prosecutor’s submission that “the purpose of the perpetual warrant of arrest is to procure attendance of the accused and if accused intends to surrender himself before the court, he may be given an opportunity to face the trial.”

On behalf of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar, Usman Masood, and Sohail Arif appeared in court today.

Barrister Misbah argued in court at the hearing that although Hassan and Hussain were both granted temporary bail, permanent arrest warrants were nonetheless issued for them.

He informed the judge that three of the five defendants in the Avenfield reference had received sentences from accountability courts before being found not guilty by the Islamabad High Court.

The lawyer said his clients Hassan and Hussain both wanted to return to Pakistan on March 12 and appear before court . Hence, the arrest warrants should be suspended, he prayed.

The warrants, according to Barrister Misbah, are intended to return the accused parties to the court. At this point, NAB prosecutor Arif contended in court that a court presence was required to cancel the perpetual arrest warrants.

He did, however, state that Hassan and Hussain should be given the chance to appear in court if they so desired.

The accountability court had heard arguments from both sides and had deferred judgment before making a decision.

In the hearing held a day earlier, Hussain and Hassan’s counsel had infor­med the judge that their clients were residents of Saudi Arabia and the UK, respectively, and were nominated as accused persons in the trio of references along with Nawaz, Maryam, and retired Captain Safdar.

He had stated that when neither of them was in Pakistan, the trial in these cases had started. Attorney Qazi Misbah claimed that the state had never made an effort to follow the proper procedures to carry out the legal process, such as issuing notices, arrest warrants, and proclamations, and that they were ignorant of the official legal system.

He went on to say that Hussain and Hassan had made the decision to appear in court and be put on trial.

The lawyer stated that both of the former premier’s sons are scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on March 12 and asked the court to revoke their arrest warrants so they could appear in court to turn themselves in.

It should be noted that Maryam and Nawaz were both found guilty in the Avenfield reference days before the previous general election.

In December 2018, Nawaz was found guilty in the Al-Azizia case as well, while he was found not guilty in the Flagship Investment case.

Before the Islamabad High Court, Nawaz, Maryam, and her spouse contested their conviction in the Avenfield case. Nawaz contested the verdict in the Al-Azizia case as well.

But Nawaz was labeled a proclaimed offender by the IHC after he left the country and did not return.

Maryam and retired Capt Safdar pursued the case while he was in the UK, and in the end, the IHC overturned their conviction.

When Nawaz went back to Pakistan in October of last year, his appeals against his convictions were reopened, and as a result, his convictions in both cases were overturned by the IHC.


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