Federal Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem saidon Tuesday that the government had decided for the time being not to challenge the Lahore High Court’s verdict allowing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to go abroad for medical treatment without furnishing indemnity bonds.
“The Lahore High Court had announced an interim verdict and as per the precedent there is 99% chance that the Supreme Court will not entertain appeal against the interim verdict,” said the minister in a news conference following the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.
“Hence, there is no point of challenging the court’s decision,” he added.
The law minister also announced that the option of challenging the verdict is still “intact” and can be challenged in the apex court only after going through the detailed verdict, which will be issued after the court concludes the hearing.
“The case has been fixed for January for hearing and the government will present its reasoning on indemnity bonds before the Lahore High Court and subsequently decide to go in appeal after going through final judgement,” Naseem said.
He also reiterated that Prime Minister Imran Khan had no personal grudges against the PML-N supremo, saying that the government’s only objective was to make an accountability process across the board.
Addressing a press conference alongside government’s chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan after a federal cabinet meeting, the minister said, “If a precedent is created by the LHC decision which we feel should be appealed, then the federal government will definitely file an appeal [against it],” he said.
Naseem said the government lawyers had not consented to the interim judgement, and added that the government will press for the submission of indemnity bonds by the Sharif family when the hearing resumes in January.
According to the minister, the Supreme Court does not entertain an appeal against a high court’s interim order “99 per cent” of the time. He stressed that the government does not want to file an appeal where there is no legal space because Prime Minister Imran Khan does not have a “personal agenda” against the opposition.
“Additionally, if they [Sharifs] don’t return Shehbaz Sharif could be held in contempt [of the court],” he added. He said the cabinet had in its previous meeting unanimously decided to grant a one-time permission for Nawaz to travel abroad in view of his “extreme” health condition, subject to the submission of indemnity bonds, while the decision to not appeal the LHC order was also unanimously taken by the cabinet.
He reiterated that the demand for indemnity bonds was not equivalent to submitting bail bonds.
Naseem said he and other officials had tried to convince the lawyers for PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, who had filed an application seeking the removal of Nawaz’s name from the Exit Control List, to consent to submitting indemnity bonds or some other undertaking.