ISLAMABAD: The legal team of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has prepared to seek protective bail for him, with at least three petitions expected to be filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the coming days. These petitions aim to secure relief in the Avenfield, Al-Azizia, and Toshakhana cases.
The PML-N’s supreme leader is scheduled to return to Lahore on October 21, where he will address a public gathering.
Mr. Sharif was convicted in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases and was declared a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicle case, which is pending before an accountability court in Islamabad. He was on bail in these cases when he went to the UK for medical treatment.
Sources familiar with the matter indicate that the petitions seeking protective bail are likely to be filed with the IHC.
The decision to approach the IHC seems to be influenced by previous court decisions where protective bail was granted to individuals who had absconded and were declared proclaimed offenders, such as Sharjeel Inam Memon, Arbab Alamgir, and Asma Arbab, among others.
Traditionally, protective bail could only be granted if the convict surrendered before the court. However, the IHC set a precedent in these cases by granting protective bail without surrender.
According to court sources, there will be at least two hearings – one before Mr. Sharif’s arrival and another in which he is expected to surrender before the court.
After his surrender, Mr. Sharif will need to pursue pending appeals against his convictions in the Avenfield Apartment and Al-Azizia cases, as well as face a trial in the Toshakhana vehicle case.
The Toshakhana case had been shelved following NAB amendments, but it was reopened after the Supreme Court overturned the amendments and instructed the watchdog to reinstate the corruption cases.
In 2018, courts convicted Mr. Sharif in two cases – the Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia references. He was acquitted in the Flagship reference. Late Judge Arshad Malik convicted him in the Al-Azizia reference.
The late judge later claimed that he authored the judgment under duress. Mr. Sharif was granted bail in this case for eight weeks before proceeding to the UK for medical treatment. In the Avenfield Apartments case, Mr. Sharif was also declared an absconder.