ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday issued notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on an application of the former premier Nawaz Sharif, requesting the court to hear his and his family members’ suspension petitions before appeals against the Avenfield Apartments judgment.
In the notice, the IHC division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani ruled that the court will take up on September 10 the instant application and appeals of Sharif family against their July 6 conviction in Avenfield case. Sharif through his counsel Khawaja Haris had sought fixation of the petition filed for suspension of verdict in the Avenfield reference.
On July 6, an accountability court convicted and sentenced Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield reference. Sharifs had later challenged the judgment at the IHC and filed appeals against July 6 judgment as well as petitions seeking suspension of the sentences.
When the IHC took up the suspension petitions last month, the IHC’s division bench heard the petitions seeking suspension of sentence at length. However, after hearing the parties for days and reprimanding and imposing fine on NAB for wasting the court’s time by not arguing on petitions of Sharif family, the IHC had deferred Sharifs’ suspension petitions till after summer vacations.
In the order, the bench had stated that “in case there is a delay in deciding of the appeals then the petitioner shall be at liberty to press these petitions.” The order revealed that the judges reached the conclusion after they called for the appeals as the perusal of the orders passed therein show that a division bench had earlier directed fixation of appeals immediately after the summer vacation, 2018.
Haris argued before the bench on Wednesday that the Supreme Court has set six-week deadline for trial court to conclude Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship & other companies references and he is arguing the cases there on day-to-day basis, therefore, it is not possible for him to argue on the appeals from the next week.
“The arguments in the said appeal may continue for a period of at least four to six weeks as these involve extensive reading of considerable oral and documentary evidence, and resolving of numerous propositions of law,” the application read, adding that in order to comply with apex court’s directions the appeals might be deferred till the completion of trial in pending references. The court while issuing notice to NAB decided to take up the application and appeals on September 10.
NAB’s reply on Haris’ objections
Meanwhile, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi while submitting a reply to the objections of Sharif’s counsel said the narrative presented by the defence in form of objection is misleading, misconceived, concocted and cannot be admitted as legal assumption under the law.
Cross examination continues
During cross examination, Zia while answering one of Haris’ questions said there is no document in the JIT report by or on behalf of accused Hussain Nawaz to show that Aldar Audit Bureau report was being produced by him before the JIT, adding that Hussain appeared before JIT on five occasions on – May 30, 2017, June 1, 2017, June 3, 2017, June 9, 2017 and July 4, 2017.
He admitted that there is no mention anywhere at pages 100 to 118 volume 2 of the JIT report, where statement made, questions put to him and answered by him are mentioned, that Hussain had produced the Aldar Audit Bureau report before JIT.