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SC fixes date for hearing NAB appeal against suspension of Sharifs’ sentences in Avenfield case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan will hear the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeal next week against Islamabad High Court (IHC) order in the Avenfield case suspending sentences of Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband capt (retd) Safdar, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

The five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will hear the case on January 14. The other members of the bench are: Justice Asif Saeed, Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Mazhar Alam.

Read: IHC suspends Avenfield ruling, sets free Nawaz, Maryam, Safdar

An accountability court on July 6, 2018 sentenced former premier Nawaz Sharif to a total of 10 years in prison and directed him to pay a fine of £8 million after finding him guilty on different charges in the Avenfield properties case. Judge Muhammad Bashir had handed out seven-year imprisonment to the former premier’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and a fine of £2 million. While her husband Safdar was awarded one year’s jail term.

However on Sept 19, the IHC suspended the conviction of Sharif, Maryam and Safdar in the case. A division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb suspended their sentence through a short verdict. The verdict came on a petition filed by Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and her spouse seeking suspension of the Avenfield verdict until a final decision on their appeals against the sentence.

Later, the NAB approached the apex court challenging the IHC verdict releasing Sharif and his family members.

The case background

As per Avenfield Properties reference, Sharif, his brood and his son-in-law had purchased four flats in Park Lane, UK, without legitimate financial means. However, the former premier and his family members have consistently claimed that the apartments were purchased with legal means.

Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her spouse Safdar, were convicted by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference case on July 6, 2018. Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to ten years in prison, while Maryam was imprisoned for seven years.

Sharif returned from Britain on July 13 after an anti-corruption court handed him a 10-year jail term and sentenced his daughter and political heir to seven years in prison over the purchase of luxury flats in London in the 1990s.

They were jailed in a case stemming from 2016 Panama Papers revelations that showed they owned the apartments through off-shore companies. Maryam was convicted for concealing ownership of the apartments.

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