ISLAMABAD      -   The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday deferred hearing in former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s appeal against his conviction in Al-Azizia Steel Mill case.

A dual bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Moshin Akhtar Kayani conducted hearing of former prime minister’s petition against his conviction and the sentence awarded to him by the Accountability Court (AC) Islamabad on December 24, 2018 in the said reference.

During the hearing, Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris appeared before the court and sought adjournment for completion of paper work.

Therefore, the bench deferred the hearing in this matter till June 19 for further proceedings in this regard.

An accountability court in Islamabad had convicted him in Al-Azizia/Hill Metals Establishment corruption references filed by National Accountability Bureau.

Sharif had moved the appeal through his counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmad and cited state through chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), NAB through its chairman, judge accountability court –II Islamabad and superintendent central jail Kot Lakhpat Lahore as respondents.

The petitioner stated in the application that he was convicted under section 10 of NAO, 1999 read with schedule thereto and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term of seven years along with a fine of Rs 1.5 billion and US 25 million dollar.

Sharif contended that from a bare perusal of the said judgment, it is evident that the findings recorded therein and forming basis for the 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 which is not permissible in the eye of law.

The petitioner maintained that it is apparent on the face of the record that prima facie, 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.

While referring the legal lacunas in the judgment of AC, Sharif requested the court in his appeal to acquit him of all the charges framed against him in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference No 19 of 2017.

In his petition, Nawaz maintained that the decision was based on assumptions and false interpretation of law while the evidences were misperceived and the accountability court announced the verdict without hearing objections by the accused.

Therefore, he maintained that the said judgment, conviction and sentence are even otherwise illegal, without jurisdiction, unwarranted by law, based on inadmissible evidence and unproven documents and on misconception and misinterpretation of law and liable to be set aside as such.