IHC to hear Safdar's plea against conviction in Avenfield case today

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court will hear today a plea filed by Captain (retired) Safdar Awan against his conviction in the Avenfield corruption reference.

During yesterday’s hearing, the court had accepted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s petition to transfer the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment corruption references from the court of Judge Mohammad Bashir to another accountability court.

The Sharif family had also petitioned against their convictions in the Avenfield reference. IHC had clubbed the two references, which were being heard by the two-member bench.

Without hearing the plea against conviction of Captain (retd) Safdar, the court had adjourned it till today. Nawaz and daughter Maryam’s plea against conviction in Avenfield case was adjourned till Monday.

On July 6, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference, while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was also given a one-year sentence without any fine.
The Sharifs had challenged their convictions in the IHC, highlighting the legal flaws in the Avenfield case judgment and asking for the accountability court’s verdict to be declared null and void, and the three convicts be released on bail.

The trial

The trial against the Sharif family commenced on September 14, 2017.
On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.

On July 10, the Supreme Court granted another six-week extension for Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir to conclude the remaining corruption references against Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.