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IHC to resume hearing of Nawaz, NAB pleas on Feb 18

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court will resume on Feb 18 hearing of appeals filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the verdict in the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references.

Mr Sharif has challenged the conviction and seven-year sentence awarded to him in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference, while NAB in its appeal sought to enhance the sentence from seven years to 14 years.

NAB has also requested the IHC to set aside Mr Sharif’s acquittal in the Flagship Investment reference.

An accountability court of Islamabad had on Dec 24 last year convicted former prime minister Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference and awarded him seven years’ imprisonment and also imposed Rs1.5 billion and $25 million fine.

Accountability bourt judge Mohammad Arshad Malik, however, exonerated Mr Sharif from the charge of owing assets beyond means in the Flagship Investment reference, giving him the benefit of the doubt.

According to Mr Sharif’s appeal, certain observations of the accountability judge were against the “principles governing administration of criminal justice in Pakistan, and of the principle of fair trial as guaranteed to all citizens of the country by virtue Article 10-A of the Constitution”.

The appeal pointed out that the accountability judge had used a word “beneficial owner” for the accused despite the fact that this word was never mentioned in the NAO.

On the other hand, NAB stated in the appeal that the court did not consider the evidence in the Flagship Investment reference, while in the Al-Azizia reference it took a lenient view and instead of maximum 14 years, awarded only seven years’ sentence to the former prime minister.

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