IHC to hear Nawaz Sharif's appeal against Al Azizia verdict on January 21

IHC to hear Nawaz Sharif's appeal against Al Azizia verdict on January 21

Islamabad (Staff Report): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will hear former premier Nawaz Sharif's appeal for suspension of sentence in Al Azizia reference case on January 21.

On Wednesday, a two-member divisional bench of the IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Aamer Farooq had directed the registrar’s office to fix a date within 10 days for hearing the appeal against the verdict.

Earlier on Wednesday, the bench heard Nawaz Sharif’s supplementary petition requesting the court to hear his plea against the seven-year jail term awarded to him in the Al Azizia reference at the earliest.

The Former PM had filed an appeal against the punishment and also submitted a petition seeking suspension of the sentence.

On December 24, the accountability court 2 of Islamabad had handed a seven-year imprisonment to Nawaz 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.