IHC to take up Nawaz’s petition on Sept. 1 against Avenfield reference

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ISLAMABAD: The appeal filed by Premier Nawaz Sharif against the Avenfield reference was scheduled for hearing on 1 September along with the appeal filed by Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar against the same.

The Islamabad High Court is set to hear the case after a 22-month passage following the appeal’s last hearing on 19 September 2018. The case will be heard by a special bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, according to the cause list provided by the court’s registrar.

At the last hearing, the IHC had suspended the 10-year, seven-year, and one-year jail sentences awarded to Nawaz, Maryam, and Safdar, respectively by an accountability court on July 6, 2018. The Supreme Court had later upheld the high court’s decision while hearing the National Accountability Bureau’s appeal against the suspension. The accused have since been out on bail.

The court is also scheduled to hear Nawaz’s appeal against his conviction on September 1, in the reference to Al-Azizia Steel Mills, while NAB’s appeals-one seeking an increase in the former Prime Minister’s sentence in the reference to Al-Aziza from seven years to 14 years, and the other against his acquittal in the reference to Flagship Investment-were also set for hearing.

The final hearing in the Al-Aziza reference is to be heard on September 18 by the same bench, comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

Accountability court Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik had given the verdicts on the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship references. However, he was later sacked following a video scandal which showed him confessing that he had been blackmailed into convicting Nawaz.

On August 22, Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz said that the government would use the legal process to bring former prime minister Nawaz Sharif back to the country and warned that Prime Minister Imran Khan would not succumb to political blackmailing by the opposition.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Faraz said, “We will use all legal means to bring Nawaz Sharif back. The government has decided to contact the British government through the Foreign Office to bring him back. Nawaz Sharif should come back.”

He said that the court and the government had allowed Nawaz to leave the country on humanitarian grounds. “Nawaz Sharif went to London under the pretext of treatment, but once there he did not go for even an X-ray. He made a mockery of the country’s laws under the pretext of his illness,” he added.

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