ISLAMABAD - A division bench of the Islamabad High Court will resume hearing in the appeals of Sharif family today seeking suspension of their conviction in Avenfield reference.

The dual bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will conduct hearing of the appeals filed by former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (Retd) Safdar against their sentences in Avenfiled reference and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi will present his arguments opposing the appeals of Sharif family.

In this regard, the NAB has already submitted its written reply in which it had adopted that the petitions filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar, seeking suspension of Avenfield reference verdict, were not maintainable and so should be dismissed.

NAB Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi maintained in one of the comments filed against Sharifs’ petitions before the IHC, “NAB begs with all humility that the instant writ petition is not maintainable before this division bench.”

He added that Sharifs were convicted in the Avenfield apartments’ reference by the accountability court on July 6 on the basis of “conclusive presumption”. Abbasi continued: “The irrefutable and conclusive presumption for the purpose of establishing conviction has been essentially adhered (to) by the learned accountability court.” He added that the verdict, in lieu of the circumstances of the case, did not merit to be suspended.

He also raised objections on the formation of the division bench saying  the division bench formed to hear the writ petition was the sole prerogative of the high court’s chief justice and the petitioner was required to make such a request to the chief justice.

The NAB prosecutor stated that in the present matter, no such exercise has been done by the petitioner, therefore, the petitions are not maintainable before the bench. He also termed most of the petitioners’ contents in the petitions “controverted”.

He further maintained that documentary evidence adduced along with the ocular examination duly recorded by the trial court emphatically established the prosecution case. He added that each and every objection on the receivability, relevancy, production and admissibility of documentary evidence had been clearly stretched by the trial court.

On the previous hearing, the bench had expressed its annoyance at the NAB for seeking unwarranted deferment before imposing the fine to the tune of Rs10,000 fine on the anti-graft body and directed prosecutors to conclude arguments on the next hearing.

In this matter, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar filed the appeals in the IHC challenging the Accountability Court (AC)’s verdict in the Avenfield property reference and made the state through Chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as respondent. 

In the appeals, it was stated that Nawaz Sharif was convicted under Section 9 (a)(v) of NAO, 1999, and Serial No.2 of the Schedule to the NAO, 1999, and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term of ten years, and to fine of 8 Million pounds under Section 10 of the NAO, 1999 for the offence under Section 9 (a)(v) of the NAO, and to one year imprisonment for the offence at Serial No.2 of the Schedule of the NAO, 1999, with stipulation that both the sentences shall run concurrently.

The appeals added that Maryam Safdar was convicted under Section 9 (a)(v) and (xii) of the NAO, 1999 and for the offence at Serial No.2 of the Schedule to the NAO, 1999, and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven years with fine of 2 Million pounds under Section 10 of the NAO, 1999 for the offence under Section 9 (a)(v) and (xii) ibid, and to one year simple imprisonment for offence at Serial No.2 of the Schedule to the NAO, 1999, with stipulation that both sentences shall run concurrently.

Similarly, Capt (Retd) Muhammad Safdar was convicted for offences under Section 9 (a)(v) (xii) read with Section 10 of the NAO, 1999, and for the offence at Serial No.2 of the Schedule of NAO, 1999, and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year under Section p (a)(v)(xii) read with Section10 of the NAO, 1999, and to one year under Serial No.2 of the Schedule attached with NAO, 1999.

They were of the view that the impugned judgment, conviction and sentence are based on no evidence.

Therefore, it was prayed that this court may be pleased to set aside the impugned judgment, conviction and sentence dated awarded to the appellants by the accountability court Islamabad and they may be acquitted of all the charges framed against them in the reference.