The Lahore High Court on Monday, September 24, 2018, summoned former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif on October 8 during the hearing of a petition seeking action against the deposed prime minister for claiming that those involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack belonged to Pakistan. Sharif, for the first time in May, publicly acknowledged in an interview to Dawn that militant organizations are active in Pakistan and questioned the policy to allow the "non-state actors" to cross the border and "kill" people in Mumbai.
In the exclusive interview to PTI, he had also criticized the apparent delay in the conclusion of the Mumbai attack trial.
The Lahore High Court's three-member bench headed by Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi also issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Dawn journalist Cyril Almeida and ordered placing his name on the Exit Control List.
"Justice Naqvi expressed anger over non-appearance of Almeida in the court, directing the Deputy Inspector General of the Police Punjab to present him in the court on next hearing (October 8)," a court official told reporters.
The judge, before summoning Sharif on October 8, also inquired from Sharif's counsel Advocate Naseer Bhutta as why his client did not appear before the court on Monday. Advocate Bhutta said Sharif would appear in the next hearing as he was mourning the death of his wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. She died of throat cancer on September 11 in London.
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, however, appeared before the court. Petitioner Amina Malik said Sharif, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case in July 2017 and subsequently jailed for 10 years in Avenfield corruption case, in an interview to Dawn made the remarks that those involved in the Mumbai attack case actually belonged to Pakistan, thus he committed treason.
The petitioner said the "anti-state" statement of Sharif a three-time prime minister could be used against Pakistan by its enemies.
She said a meeting of the National Security Council was held to discuss the 'misleading' statement of the disqualified premier and later then prime minister Abbasi met Sharif and conveyed to him the concerns of the military leadership on his statement.
"The act of Abbasi was also a clear violation of his oath as he was bound not to allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct," the petitioner said.
The court adjourned the hearing till October 8. Sharif, 68, resigned as Pakistan prime minister last year after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.
The Avenfield case was among the three corruption cases filed against the ex-premier by the National Accountability Bureau on the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case.
Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar were released last week following the suspension of their sentences by the Islamabad High Court in the Avenfield properties corruption case.
Some 166 people were killed in the attack carried out by 10 LeT terrorists. Nine of the attackers were killed by police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was caught and hanged after being handed down a death sentence.