LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued bailable arrest warrants for former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on failing to appear before the court in the contempt case seeking action against him for allegedly not honouring his oath of office by disclosing the minutes of a National Security Council (NSC) meeting to party leader Nawaz Sharif.
The case, which was filed by civil society member Amina Malik through Advocate Azhar Siddique, had sought action against Abbasi and Nawaz Sharif for trying to defame state institutions.
The petitioner had contended that after an NSC meeting held to discuss Sharif’s “misleading” statement, Abbasi had met the ousted premier and conveyed to him the concerns of the military leadership, adding that this act had been a violation of Abbasi’s oath as PM as he was not bound to allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct.
The petitioner had pleaded that Sharif had committed sedition by rejecting the NSC statement and was liable for action as per the Constitution and the Pakistan Penal Code, and also sought action against Abbasi for violation of oath through his disclosure of the minutes of the NSC meeting to Sharif.
The court had earlier issued notices to Abbasi, Nawaz Sharif and journalist Cyril Almeida during a hearing of the case in June, and, on Abbasi’s request, had adjourned the hearing till Sept 10.
Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, who was heading the bench, asked why Abbasi had not appeared in court on Monday.
Subsequently, the bench ordered that bailable arrest warrants be issued to Abbasi due to his absence in the hearings and ordered him to pay Rs1 million in surety bonds.
The LHC Judge Saddaqt Ali Khan had referred the case to LHC larger bench for further hearing.
Additionally, the court ordered that notices be issued to Sharif via the Adiala Jail superintendent, and to Almeida via the senior superintendent police Islamabad.—INP