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Wednesday Oct 24 2018

NAB appeal: SC issues notices to Nawaz, Maryam, adjourns hearing till Nov 6


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday issued notices to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz as it heard a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) challenging suspension of the accused's prison terms in the Avenfield properties reference.

NAB had filed the petition in the apex court on Monday challenging an earlier decision by the Islamabad High Court suspending sentences given to Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar.

A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard the petition today, and issued notices to the former premier and his daughter. 

The court observed that it would not take notice of the appeal against Captain (retd) Safdar's sentence suspension, since his prison term was only one year. 

The NAB prosecutor in attendance told the bench that the IHC order comprised of 43 pages. 

To this, the chief justice observed that the order should have taken 1.5-2 pages at the most. Ask anyone, if they have ever seen an order taking up as many as 43 pages, the top judge remarked. 

The bench then adjourned the hearing of the petition till November 6.

In its petition, NAB asked for the September 19 decision by IHC to be declared null and void, contending that the “IHC had 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.”

It prayed the apex court to restore the sentences awarded to the Sharifs and to cancel the bail granted to all the accused in the reference.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a statement pertaining to reports of Justice Umar Ata Bandial's separation from the bench.

Justice Bandial has not separated himself from the bench; he is rather ill which is why Chief Justice Saqib Nisar constituted the bench again, said the statement issued by the apex court.

The reports suggesting that Justice Bandial recused himself are baseless and the chief justice has taken strict notice of these reports aired on various news channels, it said.

Last month, Justice Minallah of the IHC had suspended the sentences handed to the former premier, his daughter and son-in-law by accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir on July 6.

Nawaz, Maryam and Captain (retd) Safdar were sentenced to 11 years, eight years and one year, respectively, in prison in the Avenfield properties reference.