IHC to take up Nawaz's plea against Avenfield reference on Sept 1

Court will also hear NAB and Nawaz's pleas in Al-Aziza, Flagship Investment references

Saqib Bashir August 23, 2020
Three-time former premier Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


Deposed premier Nawaz Sharif's appeal against the Avenfield reference has been scheduled for hearing for September 1, along with Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar's appeal against the same.

The Islamabad High Court is set to hear the case after a passage of 22 months since the last hearing of the appeal on September 19, 2018. According to the cause list issued by the court's registrar, a special bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani will hear the case.

At the last hearing the IHC had suspended the 10-year, seven-year, and one-year jail sentences awarded to Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar, respectively by an accountability court on July 6, 2018. The Supreme Court had later upheld the high court's decision while hearing the National Accountability Bureau's appeal against the suspension. The accused have since been out on bail.

The court is also set to hear Nawaz's appeal filed against his conviction in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference on September 1, while NAB's appeals - one seeking an increase in the former premier's sentence in the Al-Aziza reference from seven years to 14 years, and the other against his acquittal in the Flagship Investment reference - have also been fixed for hearing.

The final hearing in the Al-Aziza reference is to be heard on September 18 by the same bench, comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

Accountability court Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik had given the verdicts on the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship references. However, he was later sacked following a video scandal which showed him confessing that he had been blackmailed into convicting Nawaz.

On August 22, Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz said that the government would use the legal process to bring former prime minister Nawaz Sharif back to the country and warned that Prime Minister Imran Khan would not succumb to political blackmailing by the opposition.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Faraz said, “We will use all legal means to bring Nawaz Sharif back. The government has decided to contact the British government through the Foreign Office to bring him back. Nawaz Sharif should come back.”

He said that the court and the government had allowed Nawaz to leave the country on humanitarian grounds. “Nawaz Sharif went to London under the pretext of treatment, but once there he did not go for even an X-ray. He made a mockery of the country’s laws under the pretext of his illness,” he added.


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