Top judge wants to know the basis on which high court suspended Sharif family’s sentences

November 6, 2018

Pakistan’s top judge wants to know the basis on which the Islamabad High Court suspended the prison sentences of the Sharif family.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar were sent to jail after a trial court convicted for owning assets beyond the known source of income. They were released from Adiala Jail on September 19 after the Islamabad High Court suspended their sentences.

The Supreme Court was hearing NAB’s appeal against the suspension of sentences on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that high court usually gives its decisions on merit and evidence. “I have never seen such a verdict before,” he remarked.

 

“What was wrong with the trial court’s verdict? The court used harsh words in its verdict,” the top judge said. “Tell us one error in the accountability court’s verdict. Can this error lead to suspension of a ruling?” he asked.

Related: Nawaz, Maryam issued notices over suspension of jail sentences

Bail is rarely granted on the sentences given by the accountability court, he added.

A sentence can be suspended if a person’s life is in danger, said NAB Prosecutor Akram Qureshi.

Nawaz’s lawyer Khawaja Harris said that bail is given when its importance. “The verdict was based on rules,” he remarked.

The accountability court’s verdict did not say anything about Sharifs owning more assets than the known source of income, said Harris. “It was said that Nawaz Sharif owned Avenfield apartments.”

The top judge then asked Harris who owns the London flats. Harris said that the children own them. Responding to this, the chief justice said that this is not a trial court. “Listen to the question first and then answer it.” He advised Nawaz’s lawyer to control his temperament.

Related: Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Safdar released from Adiala Jail 

Chief Justice Nisar once again asked about the ownership of the London properties. Harris said that Hussain Nawaz owns them.

“He didn’t get the London flats from a tree. What resources were declared when the flats were bought? Such evidence should’ve been reviewed in the appeals,” the chief justice added.

The court has directed Maryam and Nawaz to submit their written replies. The hearing has been adjourned till November 12.