Court to hear Sharif family’s appeals against Avenfield verdict

July 31, 2018

The Islamabad High Court will hear the Sharif family’s appeals against the Avenfield verdict on Tuesday (today).

A bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear the appeals.

The Supreme Court disqualified in 2017 then PM Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers case. The court ordered NAB to file three corruption references against Nawaz and his family. An anti-corruption court has sentenced the family in one of the three references – Avenfield. The former PM was awarded 10 years in jail and his daughter, Maryam, was awarded seven. Maryam’s husband, Capt (retd) Safdar was also handed a one-year sentence in the case. Nawaz and Maryam were arrested upon their return to the country on July 13 while Capt (retd) Safdar had surrendered before them. The family has appealed the decision.

On July 17, the high court issued notices to NAB in the Sharif family’s appeal against the Avenfield verdict. A two-member bench, comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, sought the anti-corruption watchdog’s reply on the transfer of the two remaining cases against the Sharif family as well as the record of the Avenfield case. The record should be at least 100 pages, said Justice Kayani.

Transfer of cases

The court asked the Sharifs’ lawyer, Khawaja Haris, to point out the grounds on which they want the Al-Azizia and Flasghip cases to be transferred to another court.

Judge Muhammad Bashir cannot hear the other two cases as the defence arguments of the accused are the same in all three references, said Haris. According to him, judge Bashir cannot hear the other two cases after convicting the accused in the Avenfield reference.

“The accusations in the cases are that Nawaz Sharif owns the business,” said Haris. “The accused have presented a money trail in response. This judge has decided a case that included this money trail.”

Justice Kayani asked Haris if the judge was biased. To this, Haris replied: “Our case is not that the judge holds something against us.”

The court had issued notices to NAB to submit its reply by July 30. It adjourned the hearing until then.

On the other hand, NAB formed a three-member team under Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi on Monday to assist the court. Khawaja Haris will represent Nawaz while Amjad Pervaiz will be Maryam and Safdar’s lawyer.

The court will also hear the pleas to transfer the Al-Azizia and Flagship references to another court.