Avenfied verdict: Notices issued to NAB on Sharif’s plea

Avenfied verdict: Notices issued to NAB on Sharif’s plea

Islamabad (Staff Report): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Sharif family appeals against Avenfied verdict and transfer of other corruption cases against Nawaz to another judge.

A two-member bench of Islamabad High Court(IHC), comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani and Justice Gul Hassan Aurangzaib was hearing the petitions filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif , his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar, who are serving their terms in Adiala Jail.

The bench dismissed their pleas to stay the corruption trial of the remaining references, as well as the Avenfield verdict, till their appeals are decided by the IHC.

Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Haris, beginning his arguments, stated that the accountability judge has already given his verdict in one reference and thus cannot hear the remaining two references.

Justice Aurangzeb asked Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer if the judge has given an opinion on the other two references in the Avenfield judgment.

The counsel remarked that it is not about the judge's bias or personal grudge but about the fairness of the trial.

The bench then issued a notice to the NAB prosecutor with regard to Nawaz's plea to transfer the remaining cases to another judge, directing him to submit a response at the next hearing, scheduled for the last week of July.

Former PM Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar filed their petitions against the verdict in Avenfied case on Monday.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the trial court have been made respondent in the appeals.

According to the lawyers, the flaws in the judgment passed by accountability judge Mohammad Bashir have been highlighted in the appeals.

The former PM and other convicts have also requested the IHC to declare the Avenfield verdict null and void as it did not fulfill the legal requirements.

The appeal states that Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head and prosecution’s star witness Wajid Zia himself accepted that a response to the mutual legal assistance (MLA) request was not received. It further said that levelling allegations without receiving a response to the MLA was mala fide.

On July 6, the court awarded ousted premier to 10 years and Maryam Nawaz to 7 years imprisonment in the Avenfield corruption reference, while Capt (retd) Safdar will also face one year jail term in the case.

Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir announced the verdict.

Moreover, Nawaz and Maryam were also fined 8 and 2 million pounds respectively. The court ordered to confiscate the property in question, suggesting the government to do legislation to bring plundered money back to the country.

In the 100-page decision, Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir also sentenced Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, to seven years in jail for forgery and making assets through illegal sources in the landmark decision. She has been ordered to pay a fine of £2 million (Rs320 million). Capt (r) Safdar Awan, who is the son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif, was jailed for one year for cheating.