IHC defers hearing of Sharif’s plea for jail term suspension

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ISLAMABAD: The counsel of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to bail his client in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference until the case is decided, ARY News reported.

A two-member bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq took up the petitions filed by Sharif through his lawyer, Khawaja Haris, seeking his release in the Al-Azizia case. The former PM has already been acquitted in the Flagship Investment case.

After hearing arguments from Sharif’s counsel, the court said it would release an appropriate order in the case in some time. The IHC bench deferred the hearing.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) spokesperson Marriyam Aurangzeb, former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair and Senator Mussadiq Malik also arrived at the IHC.

On Jan 5, the counsel of Sharif re-submitted an appeal at the IHC against the accountability court verdict sentencing Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.

The first appeal was filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo’s counsel on Jan 1 but the registrar office returned it after raising objections.

Whereas on Jan 3, NAB moved two appeals in the IHC, challenging the accountability court verdict in the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references against Sharif.

The anti-graft watchdog pleaded to increase the sentence awarded to Sharif in the Al-Azizia case and overturn his acquittal in the Flagship reference.

“The accountability court passed the impugned judgment in slipshod and a cursory manner without adverting to evidence available on record,” reads the petition. “There is absolute misreading and non-reading of the evidence tendered by the prosecution so much so that the prosecution witnesses stood the test of being sagacious and tendered unimplacable deposition despite lengthy cross examination.”

In another appeal challenging the Al-Azizia case verdict, NAB stated that the prosecution had presented ample evidence beyond any shadow of doubt to prove its case.

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