SC to resume hearing NAB plea against Sharif’s sentence suspension

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will resume hearing Tuesday a petition of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) challenging the Islamabad High Court’s verdict of suspending the sentence of former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam in a corruption reference.

Previously, on October 24, a three-member apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had heard the NAB’s petition, and issued notices to the former premier and his daughter.

The court had observed that it would not take notice of the appeal against Safdar’s imprisonment suspension, since his jail term was only a year long.

The Chief Justice remarked that the IHC erred in its ruling as a judgement vis-à-vis suspension of sentence is written over two to three pages. “The high court gave  opinion on the case by authoring 43-page long judgment.”

NAB’s petition against IHC verdict

NAB special prosecutor Akram Qureshi, who filed the appeal, contended, “Islamabad High Court (IHC) has failed to appreciate that through its order, it had seriously prejudiced the case of the prosecution by holding that the trial court judgement suffered from obvious and glaring defects and infirmities and that the convictions and sentences handed down to the accused might not be sustained ultimately.”

The anti-graft watchdog pleaded with the top court to overturn the IHC order and restore the sentences awarded to Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and her spouse.

The court was further requested to cancel the bail granted to all the accused in the corruption reference by the high court.

IHC verdict

On September 19, the IHC suspended the sentences handed to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield corruption reference.

An IHC division bench, while hearing the appeals by the Sharifs against the July 6 accountability court verdict, accepted the convicts’ petitions, ruling that the sentences would remain suspended until the final judgement on their appeals.

An accountability court on July 6, had handed Nawaz Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

His daughter Maryam Nawaz was given 7 years for abetment, and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar was given 1 year for non-cooperation with the anti-graft authority.

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