NAB opposes hearing of Sharifs’ pleas against Avenfield verdict | Pakistan Today

NAB opposes hearing of Sharifs’ pleas against Avenfield verdict

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday objected to hearing of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar’s pleas challenging the Avenfield reference verdict against them.

A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Athar Minallah heard the petitions.

On Wednesday, Nawaz’s lawyer Khawaja Haris and counsel of Maryam Nawaz, Amjad Pervaiz concluded their arguments.

NAB prosecutor Akram Qureshi began presenting his arguments on Thursday.

As the hearing resumed, the NAB prosecutor argued that if the court can conduct the hearings against the verdict on daily basis then there can also be daily hearings on the appeals. “Defence lawyer should be given two hours for the arguments,” he said.

Upon this, Justice Maingul told the defence lawyer that the court has noticed NAB’s reservations and he should move on now.

The NAB prosecutor further said that if the punishment is more than three years then the sentence cannot be suspended immediately. “Has there any daily trial in any other case. This case is different,” Justice Minallah remarked.

The NAB prosecutor, however, argued that this case is not different. “The defence lawyers owing to their malafide intentions decided to present arguments over pleas challenging the verdict,” he said.

Justice Minallah then asked the NAB prosecutor to present his arguments on the suspension of the sentence first, adding that his reservations have been noticed.

The NAB prosecutor then told the court that his mother had a cardiac arrest a day earlier and if court permits he will leave the rostrum.

The bench, however, asked him to continue his arguments.

The NAB prosecutor then once again objected and said that the accountability bureau was not made a party in the petitions which is why they are not maintainable.

On July 6 this year, 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). Additionally, Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.

On July 16, the legal counsels of the Sharifs had filed three separate appeals on behalf of their clients. Their lawyers had also filed petitions that argued that until the IHC adjudicates on the appeals against the accountability court’s decision, the convicts should be released on bail.

In the appeals, counsel Khawaja Haris had argued that the prosecution must establish its case beyond a shadow of a doubt in order to shift the onus of proof on the accused, but in the Avenfield properties reference the prosecution failed to establish such a case.

The convicts had appealed to the court for setting aside their sentence, suspending their sentence and granting them bail, and transferring Al-Azizia and Flagship references against them to a different trial court.

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