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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court will take up on Sept 10 petitions of the Sharif family challenging their conviction in the Avenfield properties reference.

A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard an application filed by Khawaja Haris, the counsel for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, seeking fixing of the Sharif family’s petitions moved for suspension of the sentence in the Avenfield reference.

Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir had on July 6 convicted Mr Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield properties reference and sentenced them to 10 years, seven years and one year, respectively, in prison.

Last month, the IHC bench had heard the petitions at length but instead of deciding the case, it adjourned the proceedings sine die with an observation that since the appeals were also likely to be heard after the summer vacation, these petitions could not be decided. “At this stage we are not inclined to decide these petitions and they shall remain pending… In case there is a delay in deciding the appeals, then the petitioners shall be at liberty to press these petitions,” the bench observed on Aug 20.

Accountability court summons Babar Awan, others in Nandipur power plant corruption reference on Sept 18

In the application, Khawaja Haris contended that since the Supreme Court had set a six-week deadline for the accountability court to conclude the pending trial in the Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references and he was arguing the case there on a day-to-day basis, it was not possible for him to argue on the appeals from the next week.

“The arguments in the said appeal may continue for a period of at least four to six weeks as these involve extensive reading of considerable oral and documentary evidence, and resolving of numerous propositions of law,” the application said.

It said that since the Supreme Court had ordered concluding the references first and it was binding upon all courts, the appeals might be deferred till the completion of trial in the pending references.

Accountability court proceedings

Advocate Khawaja Haris continued cross-examination of the star prosecution witness of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Wajid Zia, in the Al-Azizia reference.

The lead defence counsel asked Mr Zia, head of the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT), questions relating to financial matters and audit of the Hill Meal Establishment.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the proceedings. Leaders and lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz met the detained supreme leader of the party inside the courtroom.

Mr Sharif requested the court to exempt him from personal appearance on Thursday as the jail administration had reserved the day for his meeting with relatives and others.

Babar Awan, others summoned

The accountability court summoned Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Dr Babar Awan, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, ex-law secretary Masood Chishti, former water and power secretary Shahid Rafi and others in the Nandipur power plant corruption reference on Sept 18.

They are accused of being involved in delaying the construction of the 525MW Nandipur power project. Other accused in the NAB reference are: Retired Justice Riaz Kiyani, former law secretary; Shamila Mahmood, former research consultant at the Ministry of Law and Justice; and Dr Riaz Mahmood, former senior joint secretary of law.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2018