IHC transfers Nawaz’s graft references to another judge

0
91
  • IHC adjourns hearing of Nawaz, Maryam’s pleas against conviction in Avenfield verdict till Monday

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered transferring the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family to another court, accepting the plea filed by Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris.

The high court, which had earlier reserved its order after National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi’s concluded his arguments, decided in the favour of the Sharif family shortly afterwards.

A two-member bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Mian Gul Hassan and Justice Amir Farooq, ordered transfer of the cases on Nawaz Sharif’s plea

The Sharif family had also petitioned against their convictions in the Avenfield reference. IHC had clubbed the two references, which are being heard by the same two-member bench.

At the outset of the hearing, the NAB prosecutor resumed presenting his arguments stating that the defence had earlier requested a joint testimony of witnesses in all three corruption references against the Sharifs.

“The defence cannot cross-question joint witnesses,” Abbasi contended, further noting that the statements of 342 accused individuals in the case are yet to be recorded.

“The defence will have time to make its case during the proceedings,” he stated.

Further, without hearing the petition against the conviction of Captain (r) Safdar Awan in Avenfield verdict, the court adjourned it till Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Nawaz and his daughter Maryam’s pleas against the conviction in the same case was adjourned till Monday.

The deposed premier’s counsel had filed a petition requesting the court to transfer Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references from Judge Muhammad Bashir’s Accountability Court-I to another accountability court.

Sharif family had also appealed against its conviction in Avenfield verdict.

During Monday’s hearing, Abbasi submitted in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s petition of trial transfer to another accountability court could not be entertained because if an accused has been indicted by a court then the trial cannot be transferred to another judge.

“The reference is in its last stages henceforth the high court will have to decide on this matter now,” Abbasi argued.

Last week, Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris concluded his arguments in the petition to transfer the Al-Azizia and Flagship references against his client to another accountability court, submitting that there were similarities in the three references due to which the cases should be heard by any other judge except Muhammad Bashir.

He pleaded that for an impartial and fair trial, a fresh judge needs to be assigned to hear the remaining corruption cases against his client.

On July 6, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference, while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was also given a one-year sentence without any fine.

ACCOUNTABILITY COURT ADJOURNS HEARING: 

In a related development, the accountability court has adjourned the hearing of Al-Azizia and Flagship references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his two sons till August 9, on Tuesday.

Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir adjourned the hearing of two NAB references without further proceeding due to a plea under hearing in IHC about the two references.