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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Pakistan SC upholds high court’s suspension of jail sentence of Nawaz Sharif, daughter

A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, dismissed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) plea against the Islamabad High Court’s decision.

world Updated: Jan 14, 2019 18:38 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has upheld the Islamabad High Court’s suspension of jail sentence of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law in one of the corruption cases against them (File Photo)
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has upheld the Islamabad High Court’s suspension of jail sentence of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law in one of the corruption cases against them (File Photo)(AFP)
         

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday upheld an Islamabad High Court (IHC) verdict that had ordered the suspension of prison sentences awarded to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield corruption reference, bringing relief for the Sharif family, both of whose leaders — Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif — are currently incarcerated.

A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, dismissed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) plea against the high court’s decision. In its ruling, the court said that NAB has failed to provide the “ground for cancellation of bail” and that the IHC had not exceeded its authority in granting bail to the convicts of the Avenfield reference.

The chief justice told NAB prosecutor Akram Qureshi to “convince [the bench] why the high court’s ruling should be suspended” and to delineate the grounds on which the apex court can suspend the granting of bail. “Also tell us if the high court had the authority to suspend the sentence,” he added.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who is set to succeed Justice Nisar as the top judge, said that NAB’s argument was not “solid” and rejected the claim that the high court had exceeded its authority.

In July 2018, an accountability court had handed Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond known income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB.

His daughter Maryam was given seven years for abetment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father” and one year for non-cooperation with the bureau. Meanwhile, Nawaz’s son-in-law retired Captain Safdar has been given one year jail time — for not cooperating with NAB, and aiding and abeting Nawaz and Maryam.

In Sept 2018, the IHC had accepted the convicts’ petitions and suspended the trio’s respective prison sentences — a decision that the corruption watchdog had subsequently challenged in the Supreme Court.

First Published: Jan 14, 2019 18:38 IST