The Division Bench of the Islamabad High Court has extended the hearing on the appeals filed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield Apartments references until November 29. During the proceedings, Chief Justice Aamer Farooq made remarks expressing concerns about the framing of charges without proper verification by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). He questioned whether NAB was aware of the nature of evidence, the role of Maryam Nawaz in the case, and whether she was the central accused or faced charges of abetment.
Barrister Azam Nazeer, representing Nawaz Sharif, confirmed that Barrister Gohar Khan is not vying for the position of the new chairman in PTI’s intra-party elections.
The court also touched upon the issue of Nawaz Sharif’s exception to attend the proceedings. Barrister Azam Nazeer stated that Nawaz Sharif participates in court proceedings with a cheerful demeanor, but they would not grant an exception on the language used in the appeal for his presence. Chief Justice Aamer Farooq emphasized the need to follow legal procedures, stating that exceptions could not be made, and everything must be conducted according to the law.
Meanwhile, in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield Apartments references, Nawaz Sharif’s counsel, Amjad Pervaiz, began presenting arguments regarding the evidence. Chief Justice Aamer Farooq raised questions about the timeline of facts presented before the references were filed, to which Amjad Pervaiz clarified that three facts were presented before the references, with the rest coming later.
The court also inquired about the scope of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by JIT. Amjad Pervaiz informed the court that the JIT was formed on April 20, 2017, and its terms of reference were included in the court’s order on the same date. The court sought information on the number of members in the JIT, to which Amjad Pervaiz mentioned that Aamir Aziz was also a part of the JIT.
Regarding the arrest warrants for Nawaz Sharif, the court inquired whether the NAB had appealed. Amjad Pervaiz informed the court that NAB’s appeal is pending in court.
In the Al-Azizia reference, Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to seven years, while in the Avenfield reference, he has been sentenced to ten years. The court is currently hearing Nawaz Sharif’s appeals against these sentences. The extension of the hearing until November 29 allows for a comprehensive examination of the legal aspects involved in the appeals, shaping the course of proceedings in the high-profile cases.