LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday issued bailable arrest warrants of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a reference of a 34-year-old land allotment and transaction, also involving Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman.
At the outset of the hearing, Presiding Judge Asad Ali asked the NAB prosecution team about the absence of Mr Rehman, who is on judicial remand.
Special Prosecutor Haris Qureshi stated that the suspect was not brought to the court in the light of the government’s Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) announced for under-trial prisoners.
The judge observed that it was the third hearing after the NAB filed its reference and the suspect, Mr Rehman, was not produced before the court.
The judge directed the prosecutor to treat the case as a “special case” and ensure the appearance of the suspect at the next hearing.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor submitted a report about non-service of court’s summons to Mr Sharif at his Lahore address. The report said the suspect was in London.
At this, the judge issued bailable warrants for the arrest of the former premier and adjourned the hearing till Aug 20.
Earlier, two lawyers filed their powers of attorney on behalf of as many other suspects in the reference – former director general of the Lahore Development (LDA) Authority Humayon Faiz Rasool and former director of land development department of the LDA Mian Bashir Ahmad.
The suspects were also present in the court.
The NAB in its reference alleged that Rehman illegally obtained exemption of 54 plots, each measuring one kanal, situated in Block-H, Johar Town.
It alleged that the land allotment had been done in connivance with then chief minister Nawaz Sharif against the exemption policy and the laws for monetary gains. It said the suspects allegedly caused a loss of Rs143.53 million to the national exchequer through allotment of the land in violation of exemption policy.
In this case, the NAB had arrested Mr Rehman while Mr Sharif had been declared an absconder for his continuous non-appearance before the investigation team.
Mr Sharif had left for London for his treatment following a permission given by court. The other two suspects were interrogated and not arrested by the NAB.