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IHC adjourned hearing of Nawaz Sharif till 7 OCT

19 September, 2019

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday adjourned hearing of an appeal filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against his conviction in the Al Azizia Steel Mills reference till October 7. A two-member division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani presided over the hearing of the appeal. Nawaz Sharif’s defence counsel Khawaja Harris argued before the bench that he will complete the arguments in his client’s defence in the next three months.

Interestingly, the same bench will hear an application submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for increasing Nawaz Sharif’s jail term in the case.

The IHC included verified copies of a press statement and affidavit released by accountability judge Arshad Malik in the paper book of the appeal filed by Nawaz Sharif.

Judge Malik had last year convicted Nawaz in the Al Azizia reference and sentenced to seven years of prison. The court had also fined Nawaz Rs 1.5 billion and US $25 million in the Al Azizia reference. The former prime minister is currently in Kot Lakhpat jail.

The court said that evidence provided by NAB as well as Nawaz’s counsel had been included in the file and told Harris to tally the documents of the paper book with his own record.

During the hearing, Haris said that some documents were missing from the paper book. The court responded that if any documents have been left out, the counsel can submit it later. The court then directed that the copies of Malik’s press release and affidavit be provided to Harris as well as NAB’s counsel. The hearing was adjourned until October 7.

PML-N leaders, including party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, Raja Zafarul Haq, Ayaz Sadiq, Pervez Rashid were also present in the courtroom during the hearing.

The reference pertains to the Sharif family being unable to justify the source of funds provided to set up Al Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment in Saudi Arabia.

During the hearing, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris asked the court for a ‘verified copy’ of a press release and an affidavit submitted in IHC by Judge Malik after a controversial video of him surfaced. The bench said that both items have been included in the file that was provided to Harris.

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