Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar challenge Avenfield verdict in IHC

  • Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar are serving their terms in Adiala Jail

ISLAMABAD – Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and other members of the Sharif family, who are serving their terms at Adiala Jail, on Monday filed petitions in the Islamabad High Court against the verdict in the Avenfield case.

In the appeals, the convicts have pleaded the high court to release the former premier, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar until a decision is announced on the verdict announced by the accountability court.

The appeals were filed by Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Harris and Amjad Pervaiz, a lawyer for Maryam and Safdar.

The National Accountability Bureau and the trial court have been made respondent in the appeals. The appeals highlight the flaws in the judgment passed by accountability judge Mohammad Bashir.

The Sharif family has also requested the IHC to declared the Avenfield verdict null and void as it did not fulfill the legal requirements.

The appeal states that Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) head and prosecution’s star witness Wajid Zia himself accepted that a response to the mutual legal assistance (MLA) request was not received. It further said that levelling allegations without receiving a response to the MLA was mala fide.

On July 6, the trial court handed a 10-year sentence and £8 million (Rs1.29 billion) to Pakistan’s former prime minister in a corruption reference pertaining to Sharif family’s Avenfield apartment in London, UK.

Avenfield reference verdict: Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Capt (r) Safdar sentenced to prison by accountability court

In the 100-page decision, Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir also sentenced Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, to seven years in jail for forgery and making assets through illegal sources in the landmark decision. She has been ordered to pay a fine of £2 million (Rs320 million). Capt (r) Safdar Awan, who is the son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif, was jailed for one year for cheating.

Nawaz and Maryam flew back to Pakistan on Friday evening, where they were arrested upon their arrival and transported to Adiala Jail following the court verdict.

Local media reports claim Sharifs’ appeals against the verdict have been prepared. In the appeals, the Sharif family has highlighted flaws in the judgment passed by the accountability judge in the Avenfield case. They will plead the high court to declare the verdict null and void, besides suspending the jail setence.

Detailed judgement of Avenfield case against Nawaz, Maryam, capt(r) Safdar

The accountability court is also hearing two other references pertaining to Al-Azizia Stell Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and offshore companies. The hearing of the remaining cases will be conducted inside the Adiala jail as per the orders from the Ministry of Law and Justice.