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September 11, 2018

IHC hints at deciding appeals in Avenfield case next week

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September 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: A Division Bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday hinted at giving its decision next week on petitions challenging the Sharif family's conviction in the Avenfield properties reference.

The bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb started hearing of suspension of sentence petition. Mian Nawan Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris argued that the prosecution must establish its case beyond a shadow of a doubt in order to shift the onus of proof on the accused, but in the Avenfield properties reference the prosecution failed to establish such a case.

Special Prosecutor of NAB Akram Qureshi contended that it would be biased to hear the petitions seeking suspension of the sentence. Qureshi requested the court to grant him one week time to submit a written response to the defense lawyer's petition.

On this, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb remarked that “it’s badly reflecting your institution”. Justice Athar Minallah remarked that “the court could not examine all the proofs and assess the merit thereof.” The court directed both parties to submit synopsis till Wednesday and gave Khawaja Haris two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) to conclude and then NAB will conclude their arguments in two days (Thrusday and Friday).

Justice Minallah remarked that “we will not delay this case nor will we give further adjournment to NAB after next Monday” and added that if NAB would ask for more adjournment after Monday the court will give its decision”.

PML-N leaders including PML-N President Mian Shahabaz Sharif were present inthe court during hearing. Accountability Court judge Mohammad Bashir on July 6 convicted Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar in the Avenfield properties reference and sentenced them to 10 years, seven years and one year, respectively, in prison.

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