News Analysis |
Islamabad High Court did not give immediate relief to the Sharif family in their appeals against the July 6 judgment of Accountability Court, it adjourned the hearing till the end of July and called official records from the Accountability Court.
While politicians of PMLN, media commentators and lawyers supporting the Sharif family were found making the case for immediate relief on TV screens, NAB experts, opposition leaders and most neutral lawyers were clear that court will find it difficult to grant immediate relief without hearing the full grounds and in trial court sentences of more than three years prison an immediate relief of any from is rare if not impossible.
On Monday, the counsels of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Safdar had filed the appeals, in Islamabad High Court Division bench, arguing several points against the verdict of the Accountability Court in the Avenfield reference case.
Two judges of the IHC comprising of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the appeals. The legal counsels of the convicted had filed three different appeals on behalf of their clients against July 06 Judgment.
Khawaja Harris had appealed against the verdict on Nawaz’s behalf and requested the suspension of 10-year jail sentence given to his client. While Maryam’s counsel, Amjad Pervaiz had filed an appeal against the verdict on behalf of Maryam Nawaz.
According to the legal experts, the suspension of the conviction may not be possible. It depends on the length of the original conviction and the grounds on which the original decision is reached.
Moreover, an additional appeal was filed in IHC, where it requested the court to transfer the remaining two references- Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references against the convicted duo from Accountability court number one to another court.
Both the appeals have argued legal flaws in the Avenfield judgment. Counsels had requested the IHC to declare the verdict null and void. The appellants, according to their spokespersons, were hopeful of a release on bail. Nawaz’s counsel has put the credence on the admission of prosecution’s main witness Wajid Zia–where he accepted that response to the mutual legal assistance (MLA) request was not received.
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They have argued that leveling accusation without receiving a response to MLA was male fide. Moreover, legal team of the father-daughter duo has contended that prosecution’s witness Robert Radley had admitted to having used the Calibri font which was available as pre-release of Windows Vista known as BETA-1 since the year 2005. Nevertheless, they admitted that he was not an IT expert.
In another development, Judge Bashir has recused himself from hearing Al-Azizia and Flagship references against the Sharif family in a letter written to IHC. He pointed out that Nawaz’s counsels have raised objections against his continuing hearing of the remaining two cases. On July 06, Nawaz was sentenced to 10-years in prison, along with a fine of £8 million for owning assets beyond the known income. While, his daughter Maryam was given a seven years in prison along with a £2 million fine. She was found guilty of being “”instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father”.
Two judges of the IHC comprising of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani will hear the appeals. The legal counsels of the convicted had filed three different appeals on behalf of their clients against July 06 Judgment.
Earlier, Nawaz’s counsel had raised objection against Judge Bashir for hearing the remaining two –Al-Azizia and Flagship references, for the reason that he has heard the Avon-field case, made up his mind regarding the guilt of the accused and has pronounced his verdict against the accused. Nawaz along with his daughter returned to Pakistan on July 13 and both were subsequently arrested.
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Most legal experts, had pointed out that despite media hype, suspension of the conviction was not possible at this early stage. It depends on the length of the original conviction and the grounds on which the original decision is reached.
If the conviction was less than 5-years, it would have been easier to go to the appellate tribunal to get a relief. Since the sentence is greater than 5-years, it would be difficult for IHC to overturn the decision.