–IHC provides verified copies of judge Arshad Malik’s statement, affidavit to Nawaz’s counsel, prosecution
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s appeal against his conviction in the Al-Azizia case till October 7, making verified copies of a press statement and affidavit released by former accountability judge Arshad Malik a part of the case record.
The two-member high court bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Raza Kiyani is hearing the case.
On the other hand, the NAB has also requested the court to increase the sentence of former PM up to 14 years, saying that Nawaz failed to give the money trail even though he “admitted to owning these assets”.
Nawaz was sent to jail for seven years by then accountability judge Arshad Malik in December last year. He is in Kot Lakhpat Jail since. The verdict was challenged in the high court.
Subsequently, a video of judge Malik was also released by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz in July this year, wherein the judge could be heard saying that he ruled against Nawaz under duress.
The judge then issued a press release, rejecting all the claims and accused the PML-N of blackmailing him for a favourable verdict in Nawaz’s case. He had also submitted an affidavit in the high court.
During the hearing, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris asked the court for a “verified copy” of a press release and an affidavit submitted in IHC. The bench said that both items had been included in the file that was provided to Haris.
During the hearing, Haris told the bench he would wrap up arguments in the case in three months. The court then directed that the copies of Malik’s press release and affidavit be provided to Haris as well as NAB’s counsel.
PML-N leaders, including party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, Raja Zafarul Haq, Ayaz Sadiq, Pervez Rashid were also present in the courtroom during the hearing.
The SC had disqualified Nawaz from holding any public office in July 2017 and ordered NAB to file three references against the Sharif family.
The apex court had also constituted a six-member joint investigation team (JIT), comprising officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), NAB, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SECP) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir convicted Nawaz and Maryam in the Avenfield properties reference on July 6 last year. The IHC, however, suspended the sentence and released both of them on bail.
Maryam, now, is in NAB detention for her alleged involvement in a money-laundering scandal.