The Accountability Court Judge, Muhammad Bashir, on Monday decided to adjourn the Al-Azizia reference against Nawaz Sharif till the Islamabad High Court's ruling on an appeal filed by the Sharif family.

As the hearing went underway, Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Harris was due to cross-question prosecution witness Wajid Zia, however, the defence counsel failed to appear in court. 

Furthermore, during today's hearing, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Afzal Qureshi was present in court. He advised the court that the Sharif family's appeal has been fixed for hearing in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) later today. 

Then, Judge Muhammad Bashir decided to postpone the hearing till the IHC's ruling on the appeal. 

Earlier, on July 16, the former prime minister's lawyer had filed petition in the high court against conducting a jail trial and suspension of the sentence in the Avenfield Properties reference verdict. A two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court, comprising of Justice Moshin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb,  will hear both petitions today.  

Moreover, Later, after Nawaz's lawyer Saad Hashmi appeared in court, Judge Bashir told him that both of his client's appeals had been sent to the high court. The former then said that his client had also submitted a petition in the IHC to transfer the case to another court.

The Judge then asked if Hashmi thought the verdict on his appeal would be announced today, adding that he too had submitted a request to the IHC but it would be heard internally. 

Judge stated, "We have heard that the law ministry has also recommended a jail trial."

Hashmi responded by saying that his client had not received a notice in this regard. 

The judge further asked about Khawaja Harris' time of arrival, stating that the court would decide on the jail trial and other two references with the former. 

Judge Bashir further observed that the high court was expected to announce its decision by evening today.

Judge Bashir proposed to adjourn the hearing till tomorrow, noting that by then Khawaja Haris would also appear before the court.          

The hearing was then adjourned till July 18. 

Last week, the Accountability Court had rejected the Sharif family's petition to transfer the Al-Azizia corruption reference to another judge.

Prior to that, on July 6, Judge Muhammad Bashir had sentenced Nawaz, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retired) Safdar Awan to jail in the Avenfield properties reference. 

Moreover, on July 16, sources reported that Judge Bashir recused himself from hearing from hearing Al-Azizia and Flagship references against the Sharif family. 

In a letter to IHC, the Judge stated that he had announced the verdict of Avenfield properties case and could not hear Al-Azizia and Flagship references. Judge Bashir further stated that if required, then he could also be transferred.

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He further said that Nawaz's lawyer had also raised objections on him hearing the other two cases. Sources further said the letter was written to the IHC Chief Justice Anwar Kasi two days ago, who is on leave.

Last year, in September 2017, the trial had been commenced against the Sharif family.

On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month dead line to conclude all three cases, the court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.

Nawaz was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) while Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million). Moreover, Maryam's husband, Capt (retd) Safdar, was sentenced to one year in prison.

The former prime minister and his daughter were arrested by NAB officials upon their arrival in Lahore on July 13 and then shifted to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references whereas Maryam and Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.