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IHC adjourned appeals of Nawaz Sharif-Maryam Nawaz-Capt (r) Safdar

18 July, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: With apparently no immediate relief for the Sharif family members, the Islamabad High court (IHC) on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of the appeals filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar against the Avenfield reference verdict until after the general elections.

The IHC issued separate notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Nawaz Sharif’s plea to transfer the remaining corruption cases against him to another judge as well as on Sharif family’s appeals against the Avenfield verdict. While the court declared maintainable the appeals of the former prime minister and his family against the Avenfield verdict, it dismissed Nawaz’s request to stay the trial of the remaining corruption references till the matter is decided by the IHC.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb are hearing appeals of the Sharif family. As the hearing started on Tuesday, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris, beginning his arguments, stated that the accountability judge has already given his verdict in one reference and thus cannot hear the remaining two references. Justice Aurangzeb asked Haris if the judge has given an opinion on the other two references in the Avenfield judgment. Haris remarked that it is not about the judge’s bias or personal grudge but about fairness of the trial. The bench then issued notice to the NAB prosecutor with regard to Nawaz’s plea to transfer the remaining cases to another judge, directing him to submit a response at the next hearing scheduled for the last week of July.

The court, however, dismissed Nawaz’s plea seeking a stay on the corruption proceedings until the court decides on his petition to transfer the cases.

The bench then began hearing the Sharif family’s appeal against the Avenfield verdict.

After hearing arguments from Haris and Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz, the court issued notices to NAB and also sought the complete record of the trial. The court also declared maintainable the Sharif family’s appeals against the Avenfield verdict.

Haris then pleaded the court to stay the trial court’s order till the appeals are decided. Justice Kayani remarked that NAB can be issued notices on the plea to stay proceedings as well. Haris informed the court that the Avenfield judgment states that it is normal practice that parents are financially responsible for their children whereas NAB’s star witness Wajid Zia accepted during cross-examination that the Panama JIT could not find any proof that Nawaz’s children were his dependents.

On Monday, the legal counsels of the Sharif family – who are currently serving their respective sentences at Adiala jail – had filed three different appeals on behalf of their clients. The appeals – that highlight the legal flaws in the Avenfield judgement – ask for the accountability court’s verdict to be declared null and void and the three convicts to be released on bail.

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