–Two-judge IHC bench adjourns hearing of former PM’s appeal against conviction as Kh Haris concluded arguments
–NAB IO to continue recording statement before ant-graft judge in Al-Azizia reference against Nawaz on Thursday
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, Khawaja Haris, on Wednesday concluded his arguments before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) regarding his petition seeking the suspension of the accountability court’s verdict against him in the Avenfield properties reference, as a judge reiterated that the court was under no pressure regarding the case.
A two-member bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, resumed hearing Nawaz’s petition.
As the hearing went underway, Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi sought time to provide paragraph-wise comments in line with the request of Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris. Abbasi requested that the hearing be adjourned for two days so he can reply as he did not receive a copy of the court order on time.
However, Justice Minallah remarked, “We cannot adjourn the hearing on these grounds.”
The NAB counsel further said he was not in town, however, the bench rejected his plea and Nawaz’s counsel presented his arguments before the court.
Justice Minallah then turned to Haris and remarked, “According to you, there’s no record of Nawaz’s property.” To this, Nawaz’s counsel responded, “NAB witnesses have agreed that there is no evidence against Nawaz.”
Further, Abbasi said, “NAB has brought forth records of known sources of income of Nawaz and his children.”
Following the deputy prosecutor ‘s statement, Justice Minallah questioned how known sources of income were brought on record. “This is not a case of money laundering,” he said. Responding to the judge, Abbasi said, “I will explain it to you.” However, Justice Minallah asked, “What is the contradiction when the worth of assets is not known?”
Further, Haris informed the two-judge bench that prosecution’s star witness and Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia presented a chart of assets.
“JIT made the chart but Zia had presented it,” he said.
“Reservations were raised in the JIT report on this chart which are on record,” Nawaz’s counsel added.
Justice Minallah further observed, “The registrar’s office has informed that incorrect statements attributed to judges were aired after the hearing on August 13 and we have taken serious notice of this. We are also forwarding the matter to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).”
“Which bench were the incorrect statements received from?” he asked.
Justice Minallah stated, “If judgements are given on one’s wishes then there will be no justice.”
He further said, “We value the media but those who are indulging in this are involved in contempt of court.”
Justice Minallah continued, “For a fair trial, it is essential to have trust in the legal system and if trials start taking place outside court then that is contempt of court.”
“We have no pressure from anyone and have to pass judgements based on law no matter who the convict,” he asserted.
The Sharif family had petitioned against their convictions in the Avenfield reference. Nawaz had also filed a plea to transfer the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment corruption references from the court of Judge Mohammad Bashir to another accountability court.
Later, IHC had clubbed the two references. During Monday’s proceedings, the court had accepted Nawaz’s plea. The hearing of Maryam and Nawaz’s petition against conviction in the Avenfield case was adjourned till August 13.
ACCOUNTABILITY COURTS ADJOURNS HEARING:
Meanwhile, Accountability Court-II on Wednesday adjourned the hearings of the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references against Nawaz Sharif and his two sons, Hassan and Hussain, till August 20.
Judge Arshad Malik presided over the hearings. Nawaz was brought from the Adiala Jail in an armoured personnel carrier to attend the proceedings.
The court began recording the statement of Investigating Officer (IO) Mehboob Alam in the Al-Azizia reference. The IO was directed to continue recording his statement at the next hearing on Thursday.
Moreover, prosecution witness and Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia was also summoned for the next hearing.