Islamabad: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday disposed off Nawaz Sharif both the appeals in the Avonfield reference and Al-azizya reference.
The IHC had reserved the verdict yesterday and it has been announced today.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had appealed against his sentence in the the Avonfield reference and Al-azizya reference.
The verdict means that the judgment pronounced by the accountability court for the cases has been upheld.
According to the IHC judgment, Nawaz is a proclaimed offender and so “there was no choice but to dismiss the pleas” owing to his continued disappearance from court.
The judgment observed that if Nawaz returns or is caught, an application for a renewal of appeals can be filed.
Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir had on July 6, 2018, convicted Nawaz in the Avenfield reference and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
However, an IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb suspended the sentence in the reference.
Subsequently, accountability judge Mohammad Arshad Malik had on Dec 24, 2018 convicted Sharif in the Al Azizia reference and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment, besides imposing fines of Rs1.5 billion and $25 million.
He was acquitted in a joint reference — the Flagship investment reference.
Day earlier, the IHC on yesterday reserved its ruling on the hearing of the pleas former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’, who was currently abroad, challenging the verdicts in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references.
The hearing on Sharif, his daughter and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt (retd) Safdar Awan’s pleas was conducted by IHC judges Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.
Senator Barrister Azam Nazir Tarar, who is assisting the court, argued that the right to a hearing was protected under the Constitution.
“As per my experience, pleas of people, who were not present for their hearing, were rejected without arguing the case’s merits,” he added.
Tarar further contended that a window was left open for the accused so that in case they surrendered before the court, their plea could be taken up again.
To this, Justice Kayani responded that an accused’s rights were not affected even if their plea was rejected.
“Pleas rejected on the basis of merit can still be moved in the apex court,” the judge maintained.
Justice Farooq reminded Tarar that he was not representing Sharif but assisting the court so he should “strike a balance”.
Tarar replied that he was assisting the court with arguments.
The bench told Tarar that it did not matter who the appellant was as it had to follow the law.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), on the other hand, called for rejecting t Sharif’s plea against the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references.
However, NAB prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana argued that hearing of Maryam and Safdar’s pleas was up to the court.
The IHC, after hearing the arguments reserved its ruling on whether or not it should hear the former premier’s plea in his absence.