Nawaz’s legal team requests protective bail to avoid arrest upon return

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A protective bail request is made by Nawaz’s legal team. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif’s legal team has filed a protective bail application in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in graft cases to enable him to appear in court on October 21.

After he went to London for medical treatment with the court’s permission in November 2019, the three-time former prime minister was declared a proclaimed offender in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases.

An accountability court sentenced Nawaz in 2018 to 10 years in prison in the Avenfield reference and seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia reference.

As a result of non-compliance, his appeals against the convictions were dismissed by the IHC bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

In 2019, the Lahore High Court (LHC) suspended Nawaz’s sentence in Al-Azizia reference on medical grounds, and he was allowed to travel to London for treatment.

In the Toshakhana case, the PML-N chief has also been declared a proclaimed offender.

In his three protective bail requests, Nawaz sought the IHC’s direction to prevent authorities from arresting him at the airport when he returned to the country on October 21 so he could surrender.

Orders of the court and convictions

Avenfield and Al-Azizia Steel Mills references sentenced the three-time prime minister in 2018.

The accountability court’s sentence was suspended by the high court.

Nawaz travelled abroad for medical treatment and didn’t return to pursue the appeal proceedings – challenging the sentences.

He was allowed to go abroad for four weeks after his brother and party president, Shehbaz Sharif, submitted an undertaking in court ensuring Nawaz’s return once his health improves.

Instead of adjourning the proceedings indefinitely, the IHC threw out the appeals because of “non-prosecution” in the absence of the PML-N supremo.

In declaring Nawaz a proclaimed offender, the court noted that the appeals were rejected on technical grounds rather than on their merits.

On his return, the applicant can appeal the sentence again.

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