Pak SC to hear plea against suspension of Sharifs' jail term in corruption case on Wednesday
Islamabad, Oct 23: Pakistan's Supreme Court will hear on Wednesday a petition filed by the country's anti-graft body challenging the suspension of the sentences of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law in a corruption case.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar on Tuesday constituted a three-member bench headed by him to hear the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) plea challenging the September 19 Islamabad High Court (IHC) order suspending the jail sentences of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield corruption case, Dawn newspaper reported.
The NAB filed the petition in the apex court on Monday challenging an earlier decision by the IHC suspending the sentences given to the trio by an anti-corruption court. In its petition, the accountability bureau asked for the September 19 decision by IHC to be declared null and void.
The NAB contended 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 given to the Sharifs and to cancel the bail granted to the three accused in the case.
Last month, Justice Minallah of the IHC suspended the sentences handed to the three accused by accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir on July 6. Sharif, Maryam and Safdar were sentenced to 11 years, eight years and one year, respectively, in prison in the Avenfield properties case related to their purchase of four luxury flats in London through corrupt practices.
The 68-year-old three-time former prime minister and his family have denied any wrongdoing. Ordering their release, the two-judge bench directed the former premier, his daughter and son-in-law to submit bail bonds worth Rs 500,000 each. Apart from the Avenfield case, the Sharifs face jail terms if they are convicted in two more corruption cases related to Al-Azizia and Flagship cases.
The cases against the Sharif family stemmed from the leaked Panama Papers in April 2016. The three were also disqualified to contest elections or to hold public office for a period of 10 years after their release from prison. Both Maryam and Safdar are also politicians.