Islamabad (Staff Report): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday postponed the hearing of a petition seeking suspension of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's jail sentence in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.
A two-judge bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Ather Minallah decided to indefinitely postpone the matter as the petition cannot be heard unless the appeal is set for hearing. The petition will be taken up when a date is set for the hearing of the appeal.
Former PM Nawaz Sharif had challenged Al-Azizia Steel Mills case verdict in the IHC.
Sharif's counsel Khawaja Haris had filed the 61-page appeal against the verdict that claims that the accountability court's decision was based on misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the law.
Expressing reservations over the appeal the IHC registrar declared it as incomplete and returned it. The IHC registrar returned the appeal and directed that it be filed again after the reservations have been addressed.
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.
The judge in his 131-page judgment in Al-Azizia corruption reference concluded that the prosecution (NAB) successfully established all the ingredients of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices against Nawaz Sharif as defined under section 9 (a) (v) of the NAO 1999 read with section 14 (c).
“Thereof as per the charge framed for holding and being true and real beneficial owner of the assets, the Al Azizia Steel Company Limited (ASCL), the Hill Metal Establishment (HME) and related remittances, beyond his known sources of income as he failed to establish contrary thereto.”
The order said Nawaz Sharif and his sons – Hussain and Hassan – are very closely related and members of a tightly knit, monolithic, patriarchal family with close association and jointly held financial business interests. There is nothing on record to suggest that there is any hostility between the three.
It also held that claim of Sharif that he has no beneficial interest or share in ASCL is unsubstantiated, false and fabricated and his son Hussain Nawaz was never the exclusive nor real and beneficial owner.
Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has also challenged the accountability court's December 24 verdicts in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment reference against Nawaz Sharif in the IHC.