Verdict on Sharifs' pleas challenging Avenfield sentences to be announced today

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) will announce its verdict on the former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar’s petitions challenging the Avenfield verdict against them.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear the petitions filed by former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar.
The court has directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Akram Qureshi to conclude his arguments within 30 minutes.

Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Harris will continue to cross-examine prosecution’s star witness and Panamagate JIT head Wajid Zia today.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Justice Minallah had remarked, “Seemingly, the accountability court’s verdict was based on the assumption that the Avenfield properties are occupied by the children but owned by Nawaz.”
“When the second Panama judgement was announced it was binding on all judges but the first was not declared binding,” he added. However, NAB prosecutor Akram Qureshi stated that the second Panama judgement is still under process.

The court had also dismissed NAB’s request to first announce a judgment on the maintainability of the pleas.

Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir had on July 6 convicted Nawaz, Maryam and Capt (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield properties reference and sentenced them to 10 years, seven years and one year, respectively, in prison.
Nawaz and Maryam were arrested on July 13 upon arrival in Lahore from London.
On July 16, the Sharifs had filed appeals for the Avenfield verdict to be overturned.
The Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by the NAB challenging the IHC’s decision to hear Sharifs’ petitions against the Avenfield verdict.
On September 15, the anti-graft body had moved the Supreme Court in an effort to keep the IHC from ruling on an application from the Sharif family seeking the suspension of the Avenfield verdict.

However, imposing a Rs20,000 fine on the bureau, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar noted that justice should be served to petitioners.