The verdict is in line with every verdict given in Pakistan and worldwide. Verdicts pronounced in absentia are procedurally rescinded and sentences suspended pending appeals and retrials, the verdict follows all precedents except one.
Not six months ago, due to the ‘increasingly deteriorating situation in the country’ the LHC took a novel step by upholding the conviction of interior minister Rehman Malik. His bail was terminated and an arrest warrant issued. This was done by the independent judiciary in the name of setting an example, certainly it wanted to set examples it had no intention of following.
The fact that the conviction of Rehman Malik was done in absentia was ignored. The bench observed in its order while dismissing the minister’s appeals that, “after conviction, if a person is not taken into custody or not admitted to bail, such a person is deemed to be fugitive of law and would not be entitled to any relief.” It was in this scenario that President Zardari was forced to pardon Mr Rehman Malik, him being denied a fair trial in broad daylight.
The news published in Dawn News:
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday released PML-N leader Sohail Zia Butt on bail. The court also suspended the three-year-long prison sentence given to him by an accountability court.
The Accountability Court in Lahore had sentenced former MPA of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz to prison.
He had been arrested by the National Accountability Bureau on September 1 over his alleged involvement in a National Industrial Cooperative Corporation scam.
The PML-N had termed the arrest of Butt, who is Nawaz Sharif’s brother-in-law, as “politically motivated and illegal”.