The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for September 22 and initiated proceedings to declare him an absconder. The IHC also rejected Nawaz’s request to further the proceedings without him surrendering, a private TV channel reported. A special two-member bench headed by Justice Amir Farooq heard appeals against Nawaz’s conviction in Avenfield and Al-Azizia references. The court observed that despite orders from the IHC, former premier did not return to Pakistan on Tuesday and surrender before the court in Al-Azizia reference. National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeals in Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references and petition regarding cancellation of bail in Avenfield reference were also heard. During the proceedings, Justice Farooq remarked that NAB’s application for cancellation of Nawaz’s bail was being put on hold for now.“First we will listen to Khawaja Harris’s [ Nawaz’s lawyer] arguments then we will listen to NAB’s application,” the judge said. “We have to decide whether we can hear Nawaz Sharif’s appeal or not” Referring to former president Pervez Musharraf’s case, counsel Harris said that in the case related to the investigation into the former’s assets, his lawyer was allowed to appear before the court. “Therefore, in exceptional circumstances, the accused’s lawyer can be allowed to appear instead of the accused himself,” Harris argued. “In a high-treason case, the special court had declared General Pervez Musharraf an absconder. Despite it, the Supreme Court heard his lawyer.”He added that that the trial cannot be stopped on the basis of non-appearance of the accused. The court could appoint a public prosecutor for the accused and proceed with the trial. As of now, Nawaz Sharif cannot appear before the court,” Sharif’s counsel further stated.