Islamabad (September 13, 2018): The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday expressed reservations over hearings on former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar’s petitions challenging the Avenfield reference verdict against them in Islamabad High Court.
A two-judge bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the petitions.
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NAB prosecutor Akram Qureshi began presenting his arguments today.
As the hearing went underway, the NAB prosecutor said, “If daily hearings can be conducted on petitions against the verdict then there can also be daily hearings on the appeals. Defence lawyers should argue over the appeals for two hours daily.”Justice Miangul then told Qureshi, “We have heard your reservations move forward.”
The NAB prosecutor then said, “If a sentence is more than three years then the punishment cannot be immediately suspended.”
Justice Minallah then questioned, “Has there been a daily trial in any other case? This case is different.”
However, the NAB prosecutor argued, “This case is not different.”
“The defence lawyers owing to their malafide intentions decided to present arguments over pleas challenging the verdict,” he said.
Justice Minallah then turned to the NAB prosecutor and remarked, “Present arguments on the suspension of the sentence first.”Justice Miangul added, “We have noted your reservations.”
Following this, the NAB prosecutor said, “My mother suffered a cardiac arrest a day earlier and if you permit I will leave the rostrum.”
However, the bench asked him to continue presenting his arguments.
The NAB prosecutor then once again objected and said that the accountability bureau was not made party in the petitions which is why they are not maintainable.
On July 16, the Sharifs and Captain Safdar had filed appeals for the Avenfield verdict to be overturned. Their lawyers had also filed petitions that argued that until the IHC adjudicates on the appeals against the accountability court’s decision, the convicts should be released on bail.In the appeals, counsel Khawaja Haris had argued that the prosecution must establish its case beyond a shadow of a doubt in order to shift the onus of proof on the accused, but in the Avenfield properties reference the prosecution failed to establish such a case.
The convicts had appealed to the court for setting aside their sentence, suspending their sentence and granting them bail, and transferring Al-Azizia and Flagship references against them to a different trial court.
Earlier on August 17, Islamabad High Court’s division bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiani and Justice Gul Hassan Aurangzeb adjourned hearing into the appeals.On August 11, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench formed to hear bail petitions of Sharif family in Avenfield reference was dissolved once again. The development came as Justice Aamir Farooq went abroad on leave in summer vacations. Previously, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani also went on summer vacations.
IHC registrar office sent the matter pertaining to the formation of the new bench in the case to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP). The new bench will conduct hearing into the petitions of former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (R) Safdar. The earlier three-member full bench dissolved after Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza recused himself from hearing the petitions due to personal reason.On July 6, Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handing the ousted prime minister 10 years’ jail term and seven years to his daughter Maryam Nawaz.