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LHC seeks govt’s response in treason case against Nawaz, Abbasi

LAHORE: Two former prime ministers – Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi – and journalist Cyril Almeida on Monday appeared before the Lahore High Court (LHC) in a treason case. 

A three-judge bench of the LHC, headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi, took up a petition seeking registration of a high treason case against former premiers Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and journalist Cyril Almeida.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Naqvi asked where was Nawaz Sharif and if he has turned up, to which the former premier, who was standing at a distance from the rostrum, raised his hand to make his presence felt.

Mr Sharif couldn’t make it to the podium as the courtroom was crammed full of people.

The bench summoned the attorney general on the next hearing to apprise it about the federal government’s stance in the matter and directed both the ex-PMs to submit their written replies as well.

The hearing of the case was adjourned till Oct 22 on the request of Abbasi’s lawyer who said his client is taking part in Oct 14 by-elections and thus the matter be taken up after the by-polls.

Petitioner Amina Malik through her counsel Azhar Siddique had moved the petition, accusing Mr Sharif of trying to defame state institutions and Mr Abbasi of not honouring his oath of office by disclosing to Nawaz the details of a National Security Council (NSC) meeting.

During the previous hearing, the court had directed Nawaz Sharif to appear before it to submit his response in the case.

It issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of journalist Cyril Almeida and ordered the authorities concerned to place his name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

The bench directed former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who was in attendance in the court, to file an application for exemption from personal appearance before it.

Earlier this year, deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif sparked a controversy when he made a statement about the Mumbai attacks in an interview to Cyril Almeida.

The petitioner approached the LHC seeking registration of a treason case against Nawaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the journalist for trying to defame state institutions.

She contended Sharif attempted to discredit state institutions while issuing remarks about the Mumbai attacks during an interview to English daily’s reporter Cyril Almeida.

The petitioner stated that after a National Security Council meeting held to discuss the controversial statement, Abbasi met the PML-N supreme leader and disclosed the minutes of the meeting to him which was a clear violation of his oath of office.

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