IHC to hear Nawaz Sharif's appeal against Al-Azizia verdict on January 7

IHC to hear Nawaz Sharif's appeal against Al-Azizia verdict on January 7

Islamabad (Staff Report): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will hear former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea seeking suspension of sentence in Al-Azizia reference on January 7.

According to details, a two-member bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamir Farooq will hear the appeal filed by the former PM.

Earlier today, Nawaz Sharif filed a petition in Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking suspension of sentence in Al-Azizia reference.

The petition was submitted by the former PM's counsel Munawar Iqbal Duggal after removing objections of the registrar office.

On January 1, Nawaz had filed a plea in the IHC against the sentence handed to him in the Al-Azizia corruption reference.

Nawaz Sharif had requested the court to suspend the sentence and to release him on bail. However, the IHC registrar had stated that the petition was incomplete and had returned it.

Sharif’s Counsel filed the plea again on January 3 after removing the objections. The IHC registrar, however, on Friday once again raised objections and returned the plea.

On January 2, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also challenged the verdicts in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment reference against former PM Nawaz Sharif in the IHC.

The anti-graft body filed appeals against the verdicts and requested the IHC to declare the accountability court’s decision to acquit Nawaz in the Flagship reference as null and void.

The accountability watchdog in its statement said that concrete evidence was provided against Nawaz in the Flagship reference.

NAB maintained the stance that acquitting Nawaz on the mere basis of the benefit of doubt was illegal. It added that the IHC should sentence Nawaz on the basis of evidence.

Moreover, NAB appealed to the court that the seven-year jail term handed to the former PM in the Al-Azizia corruption reference is not enough and should be increased.

The anti-graft body, in its appeal maintained that Nawaz has been proven guilty and as per Section 9 (a)(v) of the NAB ordinance and its punishment is a 14-year prison term.

Earlier today, the IHC returned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea against the verdict in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference after expressing its reservation over it.

On Dec 24, 2018, the Accountability Court 2 of Islamabad had handed a seven-year rigorous imprisonment to Sharif along with a fine of Rs1.5 billion and $25 million in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills/Hill Metal Establish­ment reference. It had, however, acquitted him in the Flagship Investment reference.