Pak approves open trial of Sharif in 2 graft cases

Islamabad: The federal cabinet, headed by Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk, on Wednesday approved to hold an open trial of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in regards to the Al-Azizia and the Flagship Investment cases.

The cabinet also revoked an earlier decision to conduct proceedings against Sharif inside the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, where he and his daughter Maryam Nawaz are currently lodged, Geo TV reported.

The accountability court, which is hearing the corruption references against the Sharif family, will next hear the remaining two cases (Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment) on July 30.

The court is also waiting for the orders from the Islamabad High Court (IHC), where the Sharif family has made a plea challenging Sharif and Maryam’s conviction in the Avenfield properties case and the transfer of the cases to another court.

While Sharif and his UK-based sons, Hussain and Hasan are named in all the three corruption cases – Avenfield reference, Flagship Investment and Al-Azizia reference, Maryam and Safdar are only named in the Avenfield case.

On July 6, Sharif and Maryam were convicted in the Avenfield reference case by the Accountability Court.

While Sharif was given ten years of imprisonment and slapped with a fine of eight million pounds, Maryam was awarded eight years in jail and fined two million pounds. Also, Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.

Upon their arrival at Lahore, the father-daughter duo was taken to Islamabad by a special chartered flight, from where they were taken to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

It should be noted that Sharif and Maryam were in London for a month to meet the former’s ailing wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

On Tuesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had cancelled the bail requests of Sharif, Maryam and Safdar in connection to the Avenfield case.

A two-judge division bench comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kyani had issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit a response on appeals filed by the Sharif family.

The bench had rejected the appeal to grant bail to Sharif, Maryam and Safdar, and directed the NAB to submit its reply to the application seeking to suspend their conviction, ARY News reported.

Furthermore, it had requested the authorities to present a complete record of the Avenfield judgment in the next hearing.