ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday granted one-day exemption to Nawaz Sharif from personal appearance in his appeals against the Al-Azizia reference verdict.

A division bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiani conducted hearing of the petitions and deferred the proceedings for two weeks after accepting Nawaz’s plea seeking one-day exemption from hearing.

The bench also referred Sharif’s bail plea in the case to Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah for the formation of a new regular or special bench to hear this matter and deferred the proceedings till the end of winter vacations.

Previously, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzeb Bharwana submitted the reply in Nawaz Sharif’s plea for adding five more witnesses in which he opposed by disclosing that such witnesses were irrelevant and do not have any concern with such case. He added that the case was in appeal where no need of such witnesses was necessary as such witnesses were forensic experts that had no concern with such matter.

However, Nasir Bhutta Advocate, the counsel for Nawaz Sharif, urged the court for testimony of such witnesses as it was the fundamental right of his client to avail all options to defend him. The Accountability Court (AC) Islamabad convicted the former prime minister in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metals Establishment corruption references filed by NAB and awarded him rigorous imprisonment for a term of seven years on December 24, 2018 in the said reference.