ISLAMABAD - A division bench of the Islamabad High Court will take up on Monday (today) the application of former premier Mian Nawaz Sharif seeking suspension of his sentence and release on bail in Al-Azizia corruption reference.

The dual bench comprising Chief Justice IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq will hear the application moved by former prime minister through his counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmad Advocate.

In his application, Nawaz Sharif has prayed to the court that during pendency of the appeal filed by him against the Accountability Court’s judgment dated December 24, 2018 and the conviction and sentence thereby recorded against him, the court might suspend execution of the sentences and he might be released on bail.

Sharif has cited state chairman National Accountability Bureau through its chairman, Accountability Court-II, Islamabad judge and superintendent central jail Kot Lakhpat, Lahore as respondents.

The petitioner stated that he was convicted under section 10 of NAO, 1999 read with schedule thereto and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term of 7 years along with a fine of Rs1.5 billion and $25 million.

“Furthermore, vide the impugned judgment, the learned trial judge also pronounced that all assets, properties, rights, receivables and interests stand forfeited to the federal government in terms of 10 (a) of NAO, 1999 and it was also held that in view of section 15 of NAO, 1999, the petitioner shall forthwith cease to hold public office, if any, held by him and further he shall stand disqualified for a period of 10 years to be reckoned from the date he is released after serving his sentence for seeking or being elected, chosen, appointed or nominated as a member or representative of any public body or any statutory or local authority or in the service of Pakistan or of any province and he shall also not be allowed to apply for or be granted or allowed any financial facilities in the form of loan or advances or other financial accommodation by any bank or financial institution owned or controlled by government for period of 10 years from the date of his conviction,” said the application.

Sharif contended that from a bare perusal of the said judgment, it is evident that the findings recorded therein and forming basis for conviction of the petitioner under section 9 (a) (v) of NAO, 1999 read with section 10 ibid are based on no evidence. He argued that he was convicted and sentenced on the basis of inadmissible evidence, unproven documents and statements of proxy witnesses that are not permissible in the eye of law.

The petitioner maintained that it is apparent on the face of the record that the conviction and sentence recorded against the petitioner is illegal and unwarranted by law and consequently his incarceration in jail pursuant to his impugned conviction is tantamount to his being held in custody without lawful authority.

He continued that if during the pendency of the appeal, the operation of the impugned judgment is not suspended, his fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution shall stand violated, he shall suffer an irreparable loss and the interests of justice shall by adversely affected.