Former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Monday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking exemption from appearance in a hearing scheduled for Tuesday (today) pertaining to Avenfield and Al-Azizia Steel Mills references. Nawaz argued that he was undergoing treatment abroad due to illness and cannot attend the hearing, hence he be granted an exemption. The former premier further argued that his treatment in London has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and that his doctors have not yet permitted him to travel back to Pakistan. “Once the doctors give permission to return after recovery, I will come to Pakistan on the first flight,” he reportedly said in his petition, a private TV channel reported. The PML-N leader said he had provided medical reports and various other documents in his bail extension request to the government of Punjab but it rejected the request ‘for malicious reasons’. A fresh medical report has been sent and would be brought on record, he added.Nawaz explained that his legal counsel advised him that challenging the decision without appearing in the court would be useless, therefore, he is unable to challenge the Punjab government’s decision on his bail extension request as he is unable to return to Pakistan. It is noteworthy that a two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani is scheduled to preside over the hearing on the appeals challenging the rulings in the Avenfield, Al-Azizia Steel Mills, and Flagship references today. Nawaz, as well his daughter, Maryam, and her husband, Captain Safdar, are out on bail and have filed appeals against the rulings in the Avenfield reference. The PML-N supremo has also filed an appeal against the ruling in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), too, has filed an appeal for Nawaz’s sentence to be extended further.