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Sunday January 29, 2023

Al-Azizia, Avenfield references: IHC upholds Nawaz’s sentences

According to the IHC judgment, Nawaz is a proclaimed offender and so "there is no choice but to dismiss the pleas" owing to his continued disappearance from court.

June 25, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday dismissed pleas filed by former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif against the imprisonment sentences announced in the Al Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield apartments references.

A court division bench — comprising Justice Umar Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar — issued a nine-page judgment that was earlier reserved after listening to arguments of the NAB prosecutor and amicus curiae.

The verdict means the judgments pronounced by the accountability court in the two cases have been upheld. According to the IHC judgment, Nawaz is a proclaimed offender and so "there is no choice but to dismiss the pleas" owing to his continued disappearance from court.

The judgment states, "Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was provided with a fair trial in as much as the learned trial court provided him with an opportunity of hearing as well as cross-examining the prosecution witnesses and only after the proper trial, his conviction was recorded; he despite being on bail, proceeded abroad and did not appear before this court and without any justification, remained absent on a number of dates”.

"Hence this court was left with no option but to follow the procedure as provided in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and declare him as fugitive from law.” The judgment observed that if Nawaz returned or was caught by the authorities, an application for renewal of appeals could be filed. The former prime minister had filed appeals with the IHC against the decisions of the accountability court.

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