NAB challenges IHC decision to hear Sharifs’ petitions


The NAB chairman approached the SC also on Sept 1 when the accountability watchdog challenged the IHC’s Aug 7 order of transferring two corruption references against Mr Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Capt Muhammad Safdar from accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir to Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik.

In the fresh application before the apex court, which was drafted by advocates M. Akram Qureshi and Jahanzaib Bharwana, NAB pleaded before the court to direct the high court to commence hearing of the Sharifs’ appeals against their conviction.

On July 6, Judge Bashir announced 10-year imprisonment for Mr Sharif, seven for Ms Maryam and one year for Mr Safdar in the Avenfield reference.

The two other references against the Sharifs — Al-Azizia/Hill Metal and Flagship Investment — are now being heard by Judge Malik.

The appeals filed by the Sharifs against their conviction are still pending in the high court. In the meanwhile, they filed a set of petitions in the high court seeking suspension of sentences passed by the accountability court.

When the high court decided to hear the appeals against the conviction, the Sharifs moved applications for the early hearing of their petitions filed against the conviction. The high court accepted the applications and decided to commence hearing petitions from Sept 11.

In its application, the NAB chairman argued that it was not just and reasonable for the high court to pass an order without issuing a notice to the state.

The high court could not review its own decision of hearing the appeals, the NAB application contended, adding that the high court was not righteous in passing an order in the connected matters to proceed with the cases pertaining to the suspension of the conviction.

The NAB application argued that the petitioners had not provided any cogent reasons for seeking the relief, besides the relief being sought was in contravention with the spirit of the provisions of Section 32 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO).

There is no justification for postponement of the main appeals against the conviction by taking instead the applications for the suspension of the conviction when the appeals were already fixed for hearing on Sept 10, the NAB application says.

The application emphasised that the high court had gone beyond its jurisdiction by postponing the hearing of the arguments in the appeals, adding it was not reasonable to postpone because of the personal inability of the counsel for the convicts.

The proceedings in the appellate court could not be controlled by the whims of convicts/Sharifs, the NAB application said.

Therefore, the decision of the high court to proceed with the suspension of the conviction cases was liable to be set aside, the NAB application emphasised.


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