- Lawyer AK Dogar’s petition claimed that former PM, his daughter and son-in-law were convicted under a dead law
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday dismissed a petition seeking the suspension of the conviction of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar in the Avenfield illegal assets reference.
A three-judge bench headed by LHC’s Justice Shahid Waheed and comprising Justice Aatir Mehmood and Justice Shahid Jameel Khan heard the case.
The petitioner Advocate AK Dogar had stated that the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, better known as NAB Ordinance, was initiated by former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf, but it had lapsed after the 18th Amendment.
On July 11, the senior lawyer had claimed that the former prime minister and others were convicted by a court which had no jurisdiction because the law under which it (court) was created is a dead law.
“A three-time prime minister was sentenced under a law which has lapsed,” the petitioner stated.
The petition requested the court to declare the Sharif family’s sentences null and void as they were convicted through an ordinance which has lapsed.
After hearing the arguments, the bench initially reserved its judgement but announced its verdict dismissing the petitions.
The appeals have also been filed in the Islamabad High Court against the sentences handed to Nawaz, Maryam and Capt (r) Safdar.
However, on August 20, the IHC deferred its judgement over the appeals.
On July 6, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the corruption reference while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Additionally, Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.
Following the sentence, the jailed ex-PM had requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to transfer the pending references against him to any other court as Judge Bashir had already disclosed his mind on the common questions of law in the three references. The request was allowed and references – Al-Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship and other companies – were transferred to Judge Malik.
In September 2017, the trial against the Sharif family commenced. 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.