Avenfield reference: IHC directs Nawaz Sharif to surrender before court

ISLAMABAD – Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday has directed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and former Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif to surrender before the court and appear on September 10 at any cost.

During the proceedings in Avenfield reference, Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Harris has recorded his arguments on a appeal seeking his client‘s exemption from the hearing. Nawaz Sharif’s bail in Avenfield reference was approved on merit as the diseases he was suffering from cannot be treated in Pakistan, the lawyer added.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani remarked that Nawaz Sharif has to appear before the court for hearing. If he is absconder in the reference then he may face additional three-year imprisonment, he went on to say.

The judge added that skipping appearances in the trial is also a crime over which, the counsel said that Nawaz Sharif is undergoing medical treatment, however, he will return after fully recovering from the illness.

The court said that there is no proof of Nawaz Sharif’s treatment. Khawaja Harris responded, “Federal government can investigate whether the ex-premier is telling a lie or not.”

Meanwhile, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told that order of canceling Nawaz Sharif’s bail has been finalized.


Trial History


An accountability court on July 06, 2018 jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar for 10, 7 and 1 year respectively, in Avenfield properties reference case filed by the National Accountability Bureau.

NAB’s prosecutor had argued law turns onus of proof on accused after ownership of flats [by Sharifs] has been established. He said, “The agreement of money transfer turned out to be fake. Likewise, the deed declaring Maryam Nawaz trustee was also proved fake. She possesses assets beyond her declared source of income.”

NAB prosecutor further added Sharifs had not registered ‘Calibri font’ trust deed in UK. He said, “Maryam Nawaz crafted this trust deed and declared his brother beneficial owner.”

Maryam Nawaz and Captain (r) Safdar, who were candidates for the general elections 2018, were also disqualified from contesting elections for 10 years each.

The sentence and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $10.6 million, came almost a year after Supreme Court removed Sharif from office and less than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life.

Safdar was arrested by the NAB authorities in Rawalpindi on July 9 while Nawaz Sharif and Maryam were taken into custody by the officials after their flight landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport. They were shifted to Adiala Jail.

Afterwards, the IHC had suspended sentences of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (r) Safdar in the Avenfield reference.

Justice Athar Minallah, while announcing the verdict, had directed to release ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar over surety bonds worth Rs0.5 million each.

On the other hand, an accountability court had also handed Nawaz Sharif sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, and acquitted him in a second reference related to Flagship Investments.

In the Flagship reference, NAB had claimed that Sharif and his sons set up Flagship Investment Limited and 15 other companies and used these companies “to manage/acquire expensive properties/any movement of funds to hide the real sources of funds.”