The Lahore High Court on Monday ordered former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and journalist Cyril Almeida to appear before it in a treason case on October 8, Dawn reported. The court was responding to a plea filed by a person called Amina Malik, who has sought action against Sharif for defaming state institutions during an interview with the daily.
In the same interview, Sharif had asked why Pakistan had not yet been able to punish the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. “Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai?” he said. “Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?”
The three-judge bench headed by Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi told Almeida’s counsel that since he had failed to answer three previous summons, the court would issue non-bailable arrest warrants for him, so that he could be presented in court under police custody. But the advocate asked the court to issue bailable warrants instead.
But when the lawyer conceded that he could not guarantee that Almeida would attend the next hearing, the court ordered the journalist be put on a no-fly list and issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
The court also questioned Sharif’s absence from the proceedings. His lawyer said the former prime minister was unable to appear because the mourning period for his wife’s death had not yet passed.
Last week, the Islamabad High Court ordered that Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain Safdar be released from jail and their terms suspended, in connection with a corruption case related to the purchase of houses in London.