Islamabad High Court to hear Nawaz’s appeal against Al-Azizia conviction on December 7

The National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) appeal to increase Sharif's sentence has also been scheduled for hearing.

Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court on Friday fixed for hearing former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif’s appeal against his conviction in the Al-Azizia reference on December 7.

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The same court last week acquitted 73-year-old Sharif in the Avenfield corruption case, removing one of the last remaining thorns on his bid to become Pakistan’s prime minister for the fourth time. Pakistan is scheduled to hold general elections on February 8.

The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeal to increase Sharif’s sentence has also been scheduled for hearing.

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Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb will conduct the hearing, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

The court had admitted applications for revival of Sharif’s appeals against his conviction in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia corruption cases last month.

Sharif was convicted in the Avenfield case in July 2018 and the Al-Azizia case in December of the same year. He later filed appeals against his convictions in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

However, on June 24, 2021, an IHC bench led by Justice Farooq rejected the appeals due to Sharif’s failure to appear in court for several hearings.

Sharif, who was serving a seven-year jail term after his conviction in the Al-Azizia case, was granted rare permission to seek medical treatment abroad in October 2019.

The PML-N supreme leader chose not to return from London despite repeated court summonses, leading to both the IHC and an accountability court declaring him a proclaimed offender.

Sharif returned to Pakistan from self-imposed exile in October to contest general elections in the economic crisis-hit country in February 2024.

Meanwhile, a concise written order regarding Sharif’s acquittal in the Avenfield reference was also released on Friday.

Sharif in 2018 was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the Avenfield corruption case.

According to the order, the NAB prosecutor during the hearing referenced the decision in the case of Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar.

The order stated that in the acquittal of Maryam and Safdar, the court observed that NAB lacked documentary evidence to substantiate the case against Nawaz Sharif, adding that the acquittal of the PML-N chief’s daughter and her husband has not been contested.

The order further noted that the court approved the appeal against Sharif’s sentence, ordering his acquittal.

A detailed decision outlining the reasons for the acquittal will be issued at a later date.

The Avenfield corruption case was about having properties in London with ill-gotten money and he was on bail in the case while his appeal against conviction was being heard by the IHC.

Sharif, the only Pakistani politician who became the prime minister of the coup-prone country for a record three times, returned to the country about four years later last month to lead his party in general elections scheduled for February 2023.

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