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Monday February 26, 2024

IHC to issue security passes ahead of Nawaz's appearance in graft cases

15 journalists along with ex-prime minister's 25 lawyers allowed to attend case proceedings tomorrow (Wednesday)

November 28, 2023
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif arrives to appear before the Islamabad High Court on October 26, 2023. — AFP
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif arrives to appear before the Islamabad High Court on October 26, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: With former prime minister Nawaz Sharif set to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases, the court's Registrar's Office Tuesday announced that it would issue limited security passes to lawyers and journalists to attend the all-important hearing scheduled to be held on Wednesday (tomorrow).

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo was sentenced to 10 years in the Avenfield reference for owning assets beyond means along with an additional one-year imprisonment for failure to cooperate with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in July 2018.

Same year in December, he was further handed down a seven-year jail sentence in the Al-Aziza Steel Mills corruption reference.

Nawaz — who left for London in November 2019 for medical treatment following the Lahore High Court's approval — returned to Pakistan on October 21 after a four-year self-imposed exile.

Following his homecoming, the former premier filed two separate applications — contending that while he was abroad for medical treatment and the pending appeals were dismissed for non-prosecution — seeking the restoration of his appeals against his conviction in both references.

On October 26, the IHC restored his appeals in the said cases after the anti-graft watchdog told the court that it had no objections to the pleas filed by Nawaz.

Ahead of Nawaz's appearance before the IHC tomorrow, the court's registrar's office has issued directives for strict security measures at the premises.

"In order to ensure that regular cases are not affected [...] the ICT Administration/DC/DM and IGP Islamabad shall ensure that proper administrative and security arrangements are made to maintain the decorum of the court," read the circular.

Furthermore, Nawaz's lawyers have been asked to provide a list of "not more than 25" counsels for issuance of entry passes.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General's Office and Advocate General Islamabad have been directed to provide the names of one law officer each, whereas five NAB officers will be allowed to attend the case proceeding.

Additionally, a maximum of 15 journalists will also be allowed in the court.