IHC restores Nawaz Sharif's appeals in Avenfield, Al-Azizia references

IHC restores Nawaz Sharif's appeals in Avenfield, Al-Azizia references


IHC restores Nawaz Sharif's appeals in Avenfield, Al-Azizia references

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ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday approved former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's petitions seeking the restoration of appeals against his conviction in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield references.

A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court, with Chief Justice Aamer Farooq presiding, conducted the hearing.

During the proceedings, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor general presented his arguments before the court.

The NAB prosecutor general contended that the reference could only be withdrawn if a verdict had not been pronounced. He explained that the NAB had thoroughly examined the pending cases, and expressed a desire to present some facts concerning the Avenfield before the court.

The prosecutor general stated that the Avenfield reference had been filed in accordance with the apex court's decision, which not only directed the case's filing, but also established a joint investigation team (JIT).

He noted that the JIT had recommended two references, Avenfield and Al-Azizia, and these references were currently in the appeal stage, making it impossible to withdraw them at this juncture.

The prosecutor general argued that certain media statements had given the false impression that the NAB had relinquished its authority. He emphasised that once an appeal was filed, it must be adjudicated and could not be dismissed solely on the grounds of non-compliance.

He asserted that if these appeals were restored, they would need to be decided after a thorough examination of the merits, and the NAB would present its arguments accordingly.

In response to this, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb inquired whether the prosecutor general would argue in favor of the decision.

Advocate Amjad Pervaiz mentioned that the court's verdict had stated that the appeals could not be decided without discussing the role of Nawaz Sharif and that the NAB had failed to establish any connection between Sharif and the Avenfield apartments.

Justice Aurangzeb pointed out that the NAB had not yet challenged the acquittal of the co-accused, Maryam Nawaz. The court was informed that when the flats were purchased, Maryam Nawaz aged around 18 years.

When former law minister and PML-N leader Azam Nazir Tarar raised concerns about the potential impact on an application for protective bail if the appeals were restored, Chief Justice Aamer Farooq noted that the court would carefully consider its decision.

The court first reserved the verdict on Nawaz Sharif's petitions, but announced it a while later, restoring the appeals against his conviction in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield references.

The court had sought reply from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on appeals filed by elder Sharif. The court had extended protective bails of the PML-N leader until October 26.

The former prime minister had signed the petitions at the Islamabad airport for revival of his appeals. The lawyers had also made arrangements at the airport for biometric verification of the PML-N supremo.

The former prime minister had been convicted in Avenfield and Al-Azizia references. An accountability court, in Avenfield reference, had awarded Sharif 10-year imprisonment, besides imposing eight million pounds fine.

In Alazizia reference, the accountability court had declared Sharif guilty of charges and handed down seven-year imprisonment, apart from declaring him disqualified for a period of 10 years for any public office.

Later, a two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court had heard appeals of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Due to Sharif’s longer stay in London, the IHC had, in June 2021, disposed of his appeals.

Justice Aamer Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had disposed of the appeals as the petitioner had not attended the court hearings.