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IHC accepts Nawaz’s plea for early hearing of appeal against conviction

IHC accepts Nawaz’s plea for early hearing of appeal against conviction
January 9, 2019
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday accepted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea for early hearing of his appeal against conviction in the Al-Azizia reference. The bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justcie Mohsin Akhtar Kiani ordered to fix the plea for hearing within 10 days. Earlier on Tuesday, Nawaz Sharif had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking early hearing of his appeal. The petition filed through his counsel contended that the court had directed to hear the petition for suspension of sentence along with the appeal. The ex-prime minister’s legal team comprising lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed, Barrister Munawwar Duggal, Zubair Khalid and others had last week filed the petition as well as an appeal against Sharif's conviction in the Al-Azizia reference. On Monday, the Islamabad High Court postponed the hearing of the petition seeking suspension of Nawaz Sharif's jail sentence. A two-member bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Ather Minallah postponed the matter for an indefinite period as the petition cannot be heard unless the appeal is set for hearing. The petition will be taken up when a date is set for the hearing of the appeal. Last week, the IHC Registrar's Office had raised some administrative objections to the petition as the legal team submitted with it over 4,000 documents, including papers in foreign languages. Some documents were not readable due to which the petition was fixed for hearing after a delay. A defence lawyer removed these objections after which the Registrar's Office fixed the case for a preliminary hearing. On the other hand, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had also filed appeals in the IHC seeking enhancement of Sharif’s sentence from seven to 14 years. On Dec 24, 2018, Accountability Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik had awarded Nawaz Sharif seven years imprisonment besides fines of Rs1.5 billion and $25 million in the Al-Azizia reference. The Supreme Court had on July 28, 2017, while deciding petitions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and other political leaders, disqualified Nawaz Sharif and directed the NAB to file three references — Avenfield Properties, Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment — against him and other members of his family in the accountability court. Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir had on July 6, 2018 convicted Sharif in the Avenfield reference and ­sentenced him to 10 years in prison. However, an IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb suspended the sentence in the Avenfield reference.