Nawaz’s lawyers set to move IHC for relief

Web DeskOctober 17, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The legal team representing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has finalized its preparations to seek protective bail for the senior Sharif. At least three petitions are expected to be lodged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the coming days, with the aim of securing relief in the Avenfield, Al-Azizia, and Toshakhana cases.

The leader of the PML-N is scheduled to return to Lahore on October 21, where he will address a public gathering.

Previously, Mr. Sharif was convicted in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases and was declared a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicle case, which is currently pending before an accountability court in Islamabad. He was on bail in these cases when he traveled to the UK for medical treatment.

Read more:PTI sees Nawaz’s return as a major judicial test

Sources familiar with the situation have indicated that the petitions for protective bail are likely to be submitted to the IHC.

The decision to approach the IHC appears to be based on the court’s prior rulings, where protective bail was granted to individuals who were declared proclaimed offenders without requiring their surrender. Notable cases included those of Sharjeel Inam Memon, Arbab Alamgir, and Asma Arbab.

According to court sources, the process will involve at least two hearings: one before Mr. Sharif’s return and a second after his surrender.

Following his surrender, Mr. Sharif is expected to pursue pending appeals related to his convictions in the Avenfield Apartment and Al-Azizia cases, as well as a trial pending in the Toshakhana vehicle case.

The Toshakhana case had been shelved following NAB amendments, but it was revived after the Supreme Court annulled these amendments and instructed the watchdog to reopen corruption cases.

In 2018, the elder Sharif was convicted in two cases, the Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia references. The late judge Arshad Malik convicted him in the Al-Azizia reference but later claimed that he had authored the judgment under duress. In the Avenfield Apartments case, Mr. Sharif was declared an absconder.

An IHC judgment that acquitted Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her spouse virtually absolved the elder Sharif of all allegations. However, due to his absconding status, the bench decided to examine his role in the Avenfield case. The court concluded that the allegations were vague, as they did not specify the precise role of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his aider and abettor, Maryam. The court emphasized that Maryam Nawaz’s case could not be separated from that of Mr. Sharif, as her liability depended on his culpability. It was noted that the prosecution did not evaluate the value of Avenfield Apartments in relation to Mr. Sharif’s known sources of income.

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