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Nawaz seeks early hearing of appeal against Avenfield verdict

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday pleaded the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to take up an appeal filed by him and members of his family seeking suspension of their sentence in the Avenfield properties case at the earliest.

Incarcerated Sharif through his counsel Khawaja Haris moved a plea seeking early hearing of the appeal against the accountability court’s July 6 verdict.

The lawyer contended that a high court bench passed an order on Aug 20, fixing the appeal seeking suspension of the sentence of the imprisoned members of the Sharif family after summer vacations.

He said the Supreme Court has granted accountability court judge Arshad Malik six weeks’ time to wind up the two pending references against the former premier. He, therefore, will not be able to present his arguments on the main appeal challenging the Avenfield verdict, he added.

Mr Haris requested that the high court may take up the petition seeking suspension of his clients’ sentence until final decision on their appeal at the earliest.

On July 6, an accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to a total of eleven years in prison and imposed a £8 million fine in the corruption reference.  His daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine while Safdar was given a one-year sentence.

Khawaja Harif filed an appeal on July 16 challenging the verdict against the Sharif family and requested its suspension till IHC’s adjudication in the case. A similar appeal was filed by lawyer Amjad Pervaiz on behalf of Maryam and Safdar.

The appeals highlighted legal flaws in the Avenfield reference case and asked for the the accountability court’s verdict to be declared null and void and the three convicts to be released on bail.

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