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Nawaz Sharif’s appeals against Avenfield, Al-Azizia cases fixed for hearing

Nawaz Sharif’s appeals against Avenfield, Al-Azizia cases fixed for hearing
Former prime minister and graft convict Nawaz Sharif (C) arrives to appear before the court in Islamabad on October 24, 2023. AFP
Former prime minister and graft convict Nawaz Sharif (C) arrives to appear before the court in Islamabad on October 24, 2023. AFP

The Islamabad High Court has fixed PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s applications against the Avenfield, Al-Azizia references for hearing; two weeks after the IHC restored his appeals against his 2018 convictions in the two cases.

A two-member bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb would take up the petitions on November 21 (Tuesday).

In a turn of events, the caretaker Punjab government on October 24 suspended Nawaz’s sentence in the Al-Azizia reference. The decision was taken three days after he returned home.

According to the provincial information minister, the caretaker government had “used its constitutional powers” under Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with suspensions, remissions and commutations of sentences, to suspend the sentence.

In July 2018, Nawaz was handed 10 years in jail in the Avenfield properties corruption reference for owning assets beyond known income and one year for not cooperating with the NAB, which was to be served concurrently.

The Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference pertained to a case in which the PML-N supremo was sentenced to seven years in jail on Dec 24, 2018. He was also fined Rs1.5 billion and $25 million.

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The PML-N supremo was released from jail in March 2019. Later, he left for London in November 2019 after the LHC allowed him to follow on medical grounds. The IHC had declared him a proclaimed offender in both cases in December 2020.

But despite assurances from PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif that he would return, Nawaz remained in London for nearly four years. He returned on October 21.

The PML-N leader was granted protective bail in both cases after arriving back in Pakistan.

On October 26, a two-member IHC bench restored the appeals of Nawaz in the Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia cases.

Experts were of the view that Nawaz’s fate in the general elections was uncertain until his sentences were ended in the two cases.

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Nawaz Sharif

avenfield

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Al Azizia Mills

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