IHC acquits Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia reference

IHC acquits Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia reference

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday acquitted Pakistan Muswlim League Nawaz Ssupremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference declaring his sentence null and void.

A two-member bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the case.

On November 29, the same bench acquitted Nawaz in the Avenfield corruption reference, a case in which Nawaz Sharif was convicted by an accountability court in July 2018.

The court had also accepted NAB's request to withdraw its appeal against the accountability court’s order to acquit Nawaz in the Flagship reference.

The prosecution team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Nawaz Sharif and his counsel Amjad Pervaiz were present in the courtroom.

The Al-Azizia case was one of the two graft references that the PML-N supremo was convicted in.

The Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference pertains to a case in which he was sentenced to seven years in jail on Dec 24, 2018. He was also fined Rs1.5 billion and US$25 million.

The reference pertains to the Sharifs being unable to justify the source of the funds provided to set up Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment (HME) in Saudi Arabia.

The IHC had declared him a proclaimed offender in the case in December 2020.

After leaving for London on medical grounds, Nawaz Sharif remained there for nearly four years and only returned to the country in October this year.

Soon after his return, the PML-N supremo had formally filed two separate applications seeking restoration of his appeals against the conviction in reference.

In the application, the PML-N supremo had said that while he was abroad for medical treatment, the pending appeals were dismissed for non-prosecution.

The application requested the court to revive the pending appeals to decide on these pleas on merit.

The IHC had on October 24 revived Nawaz's appeals in the two reference.

At the previous hearing, the court had turned down the National Accountability Bureau’s suggestion that Nawaz's conviction in the reference be set aside and the case be re-tried.

IThe IHC had also declared that it would decide the PML-N supremo’s appeal on merit.