IHC suspends jail sentence of Nawaz, Maryam, Safdar

Islamabad (HRNW): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday suspended the conviction of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield properties case. A division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb suspended their sentence through a short verdict. The bench has ordered release of the incarcerated members of the Sharif family. Earlier, the bench reserved the verdict after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Special prosecutor Mohammad Akram Qureshi concluded his final argument. Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her spouse Safdar, were convicted by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference case on July 6. Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to ten years in prison, while Maryam was imprisoned for seven years.

During the previous hearing, the judges had said that even if the NAB prosecutor did not conclude his arguments, a verdict would be announced on the petitions filed by former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar challenging the Avenfield verdict. The bench directed the prosecutor to wrap up arguments by Wednesday (today) at any cost. “If the NAB does not complete its arguments, then we will announce verdict on the appeals keeping in view the NAB’s written response in the case,” the bench observed. Justice Minallah remarked, “Seemingly, the accountability court’s verdict was based on the assumption that the Avenfield properties are in possession of the former premier’s children but he is the actual owner of the properties. “The anti-graft watchdog had proved with verified evidences that the property was in possession of the accused and he is bound by the law to clarify whether it was their grandfather or father from whom they inherited the property,” the NAB prosecutor argued. But the accused failed to tell anything, he added.

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