In Islamabad, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to make appearances in both an accountability court and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday. He is set to attend the hearing related to the Toshkhana reference and the plea for the reinstatement of his appeals against conviction in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia reference cases.
Before his arrival at the accountability court presided over by Judge Muhammad Bashir in Islamabad today, a bomb disposal squad carried out a thorough search and evacuation of the courtroom for security reasons.
A substantial deployment of the Islamabad Police has been arranged inside and outside the Federal Judicial Complex in the capital, where the Toshakhana case hearing against him is scheduled. Only relevant lawyers and journalists will be granted access to the accountability court.
The court has temporarily suspended the permanent warrant for Nawaz Sharif in the case. As per the court’s ruling, if Nawaz fails to appear before the judge today, the warrant against him will be reinstated.
The Toshakhana case also implicates Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Zardari and Senator Yusuf Raza Gilani.
Nawaz Sharif is being represented by his attorney Qazi Misbah, who has submitted three different applications on his behalf to the accountability court. These applications pertain to the restoration of Nawaz Sharif’s attached property in the case, the appointment of his pleader, and the submission of the politician’s bail bonds.
Meanwhile, Zardari’s lawyer and senior PPP leader, Farooq H Naek, appeared in the court on behalf of his client to request an exemption from attending the hearing.
Nawaz Sharif had obtained protective bail in two corruption cases, and his arrest warrant in the Toshakhana case was temporarily suspended by an accountability court two days before his return to Pakistan on October 21.
Furthermore, Nawaz Sharif is also expected to surrender before the Islamabad High Court in a case against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference. The high court has already granted protective bail to him, preventing his arrest in the case. The NAB did not oppose the security bond for Nawaz.
A hearing on the appeals against Nawaz Sharif’s convictions in the aforementioned reference, as well as the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references, will be held today in the IHC. The hearing will commence after 2:30 pm. The NAB reference will be overseen by the regular bench, while a special divisional bench will handle the appeals against his convictions in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references.
On Monday, Nawaz Sharif filed petitions with the IHC seeking the reinstatement of appeals against the accountability court’s verdicts in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases. His petitions requested the court to review the appeals on their merits, as they were previously dismissed due to non-compliance when Nawaz Sharif did not return from London after being granted permission by the court in November 2019 to go abroad for medical treatment.
In the Avenfield petition, Nawaz Sharif maintained that he was sentenced in absentia on July 6, 2018, in the Avenfield reference because he couldn’t attend the court hearing due to his wife’s illness. She was undergoing treatment and on a ventilator at a London hospital at the time.
Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference on December 24, 2018, and subsequently transferred from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail to Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail the next day.
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