Islamabad (Staff Report): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued notices to former PM Nawaz Sharif and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday over their respective appeals filed against the verdict on Al Azizia reference.
A two-judge IHC bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhatr Kiyani heard the appeals filed by NAB challenging the accountability court verdicts in Al Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment corruption references against Nawaz Sharif.
NAB in its appeal against against Nawaz's acquittal in the Flagship reference, maintained the stance that the court's acquittal of the ex PM was not justified.
The anti-graft body in its other appeal argued that Nawaz Sharif was found guilty with all charges against him proven, and the seven-year jail sentence awarded in the Al-Azizia reference was not enough and should be increased.
Earlier on Monday, the IHC bench heard NAB's appeals along with appeals filed by Nawaz against the Al Azizia verdict and suspension of his sentence.
Counsel for Nawaz Sharif Khawaja Haris argued before the bench that the former PM was not the real owner of the assets, but he had still been sentenced in the Al-Azizia reference.
Following the arguments of Sharif’s lawyer, the bench summoned the records of the trial and issued notices to the former PM as well as NAB over the appeals.
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) had 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.