ISLAMABAD: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif has decided against appearing before the top court in Asghar Khan case, media reports claimed on Friday.
A three-member bench – led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar – to hear the case had issued notices to Nawaz Sharif and Javed Hashmi as well as 19 other civilians named in the Asghar Khan case.
On June 6, Supreme Court ordered all the respondents in Asghar Khan case to submit written replies by June 9 while adjourning the hearing after deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif failed to show up.
According to the reports, Nawaz has decided not to appear before the court after consultation with legal experts.
It was added that Barrister Munawar Iqbal Duggal will represent the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo in the case. The counsel will also submit Nawaz’s response in the court on his behalf.
Over the course of the earlier hearing, CJP Nisar inquired whether Nawaz was in the court. He was answered in negative.
Consequently, the CJP expressed displeasure upon ex-PM’s absence, saying: “Why Nawaz Sharif hasn’t appeared before the bench despite being summoned. It was a court order and people must comply with court orders.” He then directed the Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf to ask Nawaz to appear in the court within an hour as he was in Islamabad.
However, Nawaz did not appear, and AG Ausaf apprised the chief justice that Nawaz was caught up in graft cases against him at the accountability court, therefore he was unable to attend the hearing.
Later in the hearing, the court granted time to Nawaz Sharif to seek a legal counsel in the case. “Nawaz Sharif will be represented by his lawyer,” said attorney general, adding that former premier is looking for a legal counsel to represent him.
Advocate Aitzaz Ahsan pointed out that Nawaz’s name has been mentioned three times in the case. The CJP remarked that Nawaz will have to submit a separate reply for every date. “Nawaz will be investigated at every cost.”
The hearing was then adjourned until June 12.
On June 16, 1996, Asghar Khan had written a letter to then CJP Sajjad Ali Shah which contained names of politicians who had allegedly received money from the ISI ahead of the 1990 general elections. The fund was allegedly provided by Younas Habib, the then chief executive officer of Habib Bank Limited (HBL), which was a government bank at that time.
According to the letter, Sharif had allegedly received Rs3.5 million, Mir Afzal Khan Rs10 million, Lt Gen Rafaqat Rs5.6 million [for distributing among journalists], Abida Hussain Rs1 million, the Jamaat-e-Islami Rs5 million, and senior journalist Altaf Hussain Qureshi Rs500,000.