ISLAMABAD  -    Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif Monday submitted an application in the Islamabad High Court seeking exemption from appearance before the court in his appeal against Al-Azizia Steel Mill verdict.

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

In the exemption application, Sharif’s counsel stated that Nawaz is undergoing multiple medical tests and examination for treatment of various ailments including chronic kidney disease and coronary heart disease.

It mentioned his medical report which said that he has been suffering from cardiac issues, irregularity in blood sugar levels and a third-grade kidney disease and his health is being monitored thoroughly. Therefore, the appellant maintained that he could not attend the hearing in current situation.

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 Rs1.5 billion and US 25 million dollar.

“Furthermore, vide the impugned judgment, the learned trial judge also pronounced that all assets, properties, rights, receivables and interests of and in HME stand forfeited to 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 ten 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 the 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 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 are not permissible in the eye of law.

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.

Sharif’s counsel stated in the appeal: “ the findings given the learned trial court judge in the instant case are not only against the evidence brought on the record of the case but also in derogation of the law laid down by the august Supreme Court of Pakistan.”

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.