Nawaz’s plea against Al Azizia verdict adjourned till October 7

The PML-N chief is currently imprisoned in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail

Saqib Bashir September 18, 2019
Deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday ordered the provision of attested copies of an affidavit and a press statement issued by accountability judge Arshad Malik to Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) while hearing an appeal against the former prime minister’s conviction in the Al Azizia corruption case.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani also heard the NAB’s plea to extend Nawaz’s sentence from seven to 14 years.

Nawaz, who is currently imprisoned in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail, was handed a seven-year prison term and fined Rs1.5 billion by accountability Judge Arshad Malik in the Al Azizia corruption reference filed by the anti-graft watchdog following the Supreme Court’s Panamagate judgment.

During the hearing, Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Haris asked the court for a verified copy of the press release and affidavit submitted in IHC by Malik after the surfacing of a controversial video of the judge.

The bench informed him that both items had been included in the case paper book. It added that evidence provided against Nawaz by NAB were also part of the file.

Haris said that the paper book, comprising 5,000 pages, had certain shortcomings while a key document was also missing.

In response, Justice Amir Farooq asked to identify the missing document(s) so that they could be included in the case file.

He also inquired about the time required by Nawaz’s lawyer to conclude his argument, to which Haris said that he would need three months to wrap it up.

Ordering the provision of copies of the relevant documents, the court adjourned the hearing till October 7.

The case of having assets beyond means pertains to the Sharif family being unable to justify the source of the funds used to set up Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment (HME) in Saudi Arabia.

The PML-N had questioned the conviction after a video scandal involving Malik surfaced earlier this year.

Nawaz’s daughter Maryam had released a video clip in which Malik purportedly confessed that he had been “coerced” into convicting Sharif.

The judge in question has since been removed from his position and repatriated to the Lahore High Court where he will face disciplinary proceedings.

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