ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC)’s Registrar’s Office Tuesday said that a limited number of journalists along with those who have security passes will be allowed to attend the court’s proceedings regarding the hearing of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) supremo Nawaz Sharif’s appeals in Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases today (Wednesday).
In July 2018, the three-time prime minister was handed a 10-year jail sentence in the Avenfield reference for owning assets beyond known means, and one year for not cooperating with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which was to be served concurrently.
Meanwhile, in the Al-Aziza Steel Mills corruption reference, the politico was sentenced to seven years in jail in December later that year.
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, 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.
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