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Monday, May 27, 2024

Islamabad High Court Restores Nawaz Sharif’s Appeals Against Convictions

IHC reinstated Nawaz Sharif's appeals against his convictions in the Al-Azizia and Avenfield cases after receiving a "no objection" from NAB.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) announced the restoration of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s appeals against his convictions in the Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia references.

The court’s division bench, led by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, issued this verdict while hearing Nawaz’s pleas, seeking protective bail and the restoration of his appeals.

In the Avenfield properties corruption reference, Nawaz was sentenced to ten years in jail in July 2018, charged with owning assets beyond his known income, and an additional year for non-cooperation with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

These sentences were to be served concurrently. The Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, handed down on December 24, 2018, led to a seven-year jail term and significant fines.

Following his release from jail in March 2019, Nawaz Sharif left for London in November 2019, with permission granted by the Lahore High Court on medical grounds. It was only recently, in October 2023, that Nawaz returned to Pakistan. Protective bail was extended to him on October 26, allowing his legal defense to proceed.

The proceedings revealed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had no objections to reinstating Nawaz Sharif’s appeals, a significant shift in the legal landscape. Nawaz’s lawyer, Amjad Parvez, argued that his client, despite surrendering to the court, had faced a prolonged battle to have his right to appeal restored.

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In a surprising turn, the court questioned NAB’s intention to arrest Nawaz, to which NAB indicated it had no such plans, emphasizing the absence of any arrest-related court orders. As the court reserved its verdict, this decision could set the tone for the future of legal proceedings against Nawaz Sharif and impact Pakistan’s political landscape.