Published On: Fri, Mar 17th, 2023
Published in Category: Lahore

Fawad Chaudhry’s request to become party in Nawaz Sharif case rejected by LHC division bench

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LAHORE: A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday dismissed a plea filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry in which he requested to be made a respondent in a case concerning former premier Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif's return.

It may be noted that Nawaz Sharif left the country in 2019 after he had been successful in securing relief from courts over corruption cases in which he had been convicted.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended his seven-year sentence over corruption charges in Al Azizia reference for eight weeks and granted his request to seek medical treatment abroad.

Similarly, an LHC division bench, headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, had granted bail to Nawaz on medical grounds in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

Since then, however, the three-time prime minister has not returned to the country, leading various courts to declare him a "proclaimed offender" in 2020 and an "absconder" by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 2020 and then later the IHC in 2021.

Fawad Chaudhry had sought the LHC's direction to implead him as a respondent in a petition wherein the PML-N supremo had been granted permission to travel abroad seeking medical treatment.

As Justice Ali Baqar Najafi commenced the proceedings on Thursday, he questioned on what basis Fawad could file a petition to become a respondent in the case.

The PTI leader responded by saying that "220 million people are affected" by the matter and that it was in their interest that he had moved the court.

He began to argue that the then "government had imposed a condition of Rs25 billion but he [Nawaz] was allowed to go abroad on a stamp paper of just Rs50".

However, the PT leader was snubbed by the LHC judge, who remarked that he has "heard this discussion on social media and made a mental note of it".

Justice Najafi observed that NAB and the federal government were the concerned parties in the case. "This mandate is of the NAB to file this case," Justice Najafi remarked.

Fawad argued that the Sharif brothers had "deceived the courts", to which the judge responded by inquiring why the PTI had failed to highlight the issue when they were in government.

Fawad parried the question and the court disposed of the petition. Fawad had contended in his petition that Nawaz Sharif "has not turned up yet even after the lapse of more than three years and undertaking given by Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif before the court has been intentionally and willfully violated by both of them".

The PTI leader had further contended that Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif "is protecting a proclaimed offender".