A two member bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb Tuesday issued separate notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday on Nawaz Sharif’s plea to transfer the remaining corruption cases against him to another judge as well as on the Sharif family’s appeals against the Avenfield verdict.
However, the court dismissed their requests to stay the corruption trial of the remaining references, as well as the Avenfield verdict, till their appeals are decided by the IHC. Nawaz and family are thus likely to remain in jail until the election as the hearing was adjourned for the last week of July.
A number of appeals have been filed by Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar against the Avenfield reference verdict.
Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris, beginning his arguments, stated that the accountability judge has already given his verdict in one reference and thus cannot hear the remaining two references.
Justice Aurangzeb asked Haris if the judge has given an opinion on the other two references in the Avenfield judgment. Haris remarked that it is not about the judge’s bias or personal grudge but about the fairness of the trial.
The bench then issued a notice to the NAB prosecutor with regard to Nawaz’s plea to transfer the remaining cases to another judge, directing him to submit a response at the next hearing, scheduled for the last week of July.
Moreover, the court did not approve Nawaz’s plea seeking a stay on the corruption proceedings until the court decides on his petition to transfer the cases and will hear the matter after NAB’s response on it.
The bench then began hearing the Sharif family’s appeals against the Avenfield verdict. After hearing arguments from Haris and Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez, the court issued notices to NAB and also sought the complete record of the trial.
Haris then pleaded the court to stay the trial court’s order till the appeals are decided. Justice Kayani remarked that NAB can be issued notices on the plea to stay proceedings as well.
Haris informed the court that the Avenfield judgment states that it is normal practice that parents are financially responsible for their children whereas NAB’s star witness Wajid Zia accepted during cross-examination that the Panama JIT could not find any proof that Nawaz’s children were his dependents.