Monday Jul 16, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has challenged the rejection of a petition to transfer the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment Limited references in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday.
Last week, the Sharif family had filed a petition to move the two corruption references out of Accountability Court-I's Judge Muhammad Bashir. Remarking that only the high court held the mandate to transfer the case, Judge Bashir had rejected the transfer petition.
In the appeal filed in the high court, Nawaz's legal counsels maintained that since Judge Bashir had already decided on the Avenfield properties case, the remaining corruption references should be transferred to another accountability court.
Nawaz's lawyers further stated that a verdict on the report prepared by the Panama Papers joint investigation team (JIT) report and Gulf Steel Mills had already been announced and these two matters were common in the pending references.
On July 6, Nawaz was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the Avenfield properties corruption reference while Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Additionally, Capt (retd) Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.
After the court's verdict, the remaining cases pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and offshore companies including Flagship Investment Limited.
Earlier today, the Sharifs filed an appeal against the verdict in the Avenfield Properties corruption reference in IHC.
The appeal — that highlights the legal flaws in the Avenfield judgement — asks for the accountability court's verdict to be declared null and void and the three convicts to be released on bail.
The trial against the Sharif family commenced on September 14, 2017.
On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.
The two brothers, based abroad, have been absconding since the proceedings began last year and were declared proclaimed offenders by the court.
On July 10, the Supreme Court granted another six-week extension for Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir to conclude the remaining corruption references against Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.