Abb Takk News

IHC Issues Notices To NAB On Sharifs Plea

Islamabad(July 17, 2018): The National Accountability Bureau has been issued notices by the Islamabad High Court with regard to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea to transfer the remaining corruption cases against him to another judge.  

Two member bench comprising of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Miangul Hasan Aurangzeb heard the case today.

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Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris, beginning his arguments, stated that the accountability judge has already given his verdict in one reference and thus cannot hear the remaining two references.  Justice Aurangzeb asked Haris if the judge has given an opinion on the other two references in the Avenfield judgment.

Haris remarked that it is not about the judge’s bias or personal grudge but about fairness of the trial.

The bench then issued notice to the NAB prosecutor with regard to Nawaz’s plea to transfer the remaining cases to another judge, directing him to submit a response at the next hearing, scheduled for the last week of July. Moreover, the court dismissed Nawaz’s plea seeking a stay on the corruption proceedings until the court decides on his petition to transfer the cases.

The bench then began hearing the Sharif family’s appeal against the Avenfield verdict.   After hearing arguments from Haris and Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz, the court issued notices to NAB and also sought the complete record of the trial.

Earlier today, Judge of NAB Court-I on Tuesday decided to postpone the Al-Azizia corruption reference against Nawaz Sharif till the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling on an appeal filed by the Sharif family.

The lawyer of Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Haris was due to cross-question prosecution witness Wajid Zia, however, the defence counsel failed to appear in court in today’s hearing.

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Prosecutor of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Afzal Qureshi apprised the court that the Sharif family’s appeal has been fixed for hearing in the high court later today.Later, Judge Bashir decided to postpone the hearing till the IHC’s ruling on the appeal.

The Sharif Family requested the court to suspend their sentences and order their release from prison on bail until their appeals are decided.

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On July 6, the three-time prime minister was sentenced to 10 years in prison by an accountability court in the Avenfield case while his daughter and son-in-law to seven years and one year’s jail term, respectively.

Safdar was arrested on July 8 while the former premier and his daughter were arrested on the night of July 13 exactly a week after their conviction in the NAB case.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir ordered forfeiture of their properties in the Avenfield Apartments and Park Lane of London. He imposed a fine of £8 million (approximately Rs1,292m) on the former premier and £2 million (approximately Rs323m) on his daughter.

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Earlier on, the Accountability Court Judge Justice Mohammad Bashir, who sentenced Nawaz Sharif and others in the Avenfield properties reference, recused himself from hearing the other two corruption references-Flagship and Al-Azizia- against the former premier and his family.

Sources informed that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had received a letter from the judge recusing himself from hearing Al-Azizia and Flagship references against Nawaz Sharif and his family.

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They said that Justice Bashir, in his letter, requested for transfer of cases to another court.

According to sources, he stated that he had announced the verdict of Avenfield properties case and could not hear Al-Azizia and Flagship references. Justice Bashir further stated that if required, then he could also be transferred.The accountability court judge noted that Nawaz’s counsel had also objected to him hearing the other two cases.

The sources further said the letter was written to the Chief Justice IHC Anwar Kasi two days ago, who is on a leave.

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