Pakistan: Nawaz, Abbasi appear before Lahore Court in treason case
Former Pakistan premiers Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, along with a prominent journalist, Cyril Almeida, Assistant Editor for the Dawn newspaper, appeared before the Lahore High Court today. This was for a hearing on a petition seeking treason proceedings against them in a case related to 2008 Mumbai attack. The case was heard by a three-member bench headed by Justice Mazahar Ali Naqvi.
The petition was filed against Nawaz for defaming the country through an interview on the Mumbai terror attack and against Abbasi for supporting Nawaz's stance and sharing minutes of the National Security Council's (NSC) meeting in violation of his oath.
Contending that Nawaz had betrayed the nation, the petition stated that a treason case should be instituted against him for giving the controversial interview and allowing it to go on air. According to the petitioner Amina Malik, a civil society member, Abbasi's action amounted to sedition as he had violated his oath of office. The hearing has been adjourned until October 22.
The security was beefed up around the court premises and a large crowd of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) supporters had gathered by the main entry point. Nawaz, who was recently released from jail after receiving bail in the Avenfield case, had been absent from previous hearings as he had been receiving condolences over the death of his wife Kulsoom.
Earlier, Almeida had been put on 'Exit Control List' after he wrote a front-page story about a rift between Pakistan's civilian and military leadership over militant groups that operate from Pakistan but engage in war against India and Afghanistan. However, today's bench comprising Naqvi, Atir Mahmood, and Chaudhry Masood Jahangir ordered that his name be removed from the no-fly list and the warrants withdrawn.
Exit Control List is a system of border control maintained by Pakistan Government under an ordinance which allows it to bar people whose names appear on the list from leaving the country. The Foreign Office had vehemently rejected the report and termed it "speculative".