No relief for Nawaz Sharif before elections as court adjourns appeal hearing

Nellie Chapman
July 20, 2018

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is being held in deplorable conditions while awaiting the outcome of his appeal of a 10-year sentence for corruption, his party's spokesman has said.

The two-member bench comprising Justices Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb, however, issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor and investigator to present a complete record of the trial in the court at the time of the next hearing.

Sharif and Maryam were convicted in absentia in the Avenfield reference case by the Accountability Court.

The court adjourned the hearings till the last week of July, which means the three will not be let out before the general elections on July 25. Scores of supporters and leaders of the ex-premier have turned up in the court to observe the hearing into the appeals.

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He said the accountability court verdict is also based on presumptions that Nawaz Sharif's children were dependent on him and had no monetary resources to buy the London flats. Maryam and Safdar's counsel Amjad Pervaiz also filed the appeals on behalf of them, Geo TV reported.

The judges rejected a plea of Sharif's legal counsel Khawaja Haris to grant a stay order, which appealed to the Accountability Judge-I Muhammad Bashir not to start the proceeding of the remaining two cases (Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references) against the Sharif family till the NAB submitted its reply, as per the ARY News report. He claimed the "pathetic prison environment" was "highly detrimental" to Nawaz Sharif's health. "We hope the high court will declare the convictions of Nawaz Sharif and his family void after hearing the arguments of our lawyers".

On Wednesday, in a cabinet meeting under the chair of interim Prime Minister Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, the decision of the Ministry of Law and Justice to try Sharif in jail was reversed.

Safdar, a student of politics at a United Kingdom university, reached Pakistan on Monday and is expected to meet his grandfather and jailed former Premier Nawaz Sharif, father retired Captain Safdar Awan and mother, all three imprisoned at Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi, Dawn online reported. "Nawaz Sharif, a heart and diabetic patient, needs timely medicine and frequent visits to a doctor".

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