Stringent security measures at IHC ahead of Nawaz’s arrival
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif is due to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) at around 2.30pm today in connection with his conviction in the Avenfield and Al-Aziza corruption references.
A special division bench, led by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, will take up Nawaz’s applications against his conviction in both cases.
Stringent security arrangements were made at the IHC premises ahead of PML-N supremo’s arrival before the high court, with the bomb disposal squad inspecting the courtroom and police officials deployed in the vicinity.
Prior to this, similar security measures were set in place for Nawaz’s hearing at an accountability court in Islamabad for the Toshakhana case.
Nawaz was convicted in the Avenfield case in July 2018 and the Al-Azizia case in December of the same year. He later filed appeals against his conviction in the IHC.
However, on June 24, 2021, an IHC bench led by Justice Farooq rejected the appeals due to Nawaz’s failure to appear in court for several hearings.
Nawaz, who was serving a seven-year jail term after his conviction in the Al-Azizia case, was granted rare permission to seek medical treatment abroad in October 2019.
The PML-N supreme leader chose not to return to the country despite repeated court summonses, leading to both the IHC and an accountability court declaring him a proclaimed offender.
In its nine-page judgment of June 24, 2021, the IHC stated that since Nawaz was a “fugitive from the law” he had lost his right of audience before the court. The court had no choice but to dismiss his appeal, the order said.
However, both the IHC and the accountability court on October 19, 2023 granted the former premier protective bail until October 24, 2023, ahead of his return to Pakistan after four years of self-exile in London.
The applications for the revival of appeals against his conviction have been submitted by Advocate Amjad Parvaiz. In the applications, the lawyer has requested the court to reinstate the appeals and issue an order after hearing arguments.
The petitioner’s counsel argues that in July 2018, when a trial court convicted Nawaz in the Avenfield case, he was in London. At that time, his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, was on a ventilator.
He had requested the trial court to delay the verdict’s announcement due to her illness, but the court had turned down the request. The application states that Nawaz later returned to Pakistan with his daughter Maryam Nawaz to face the sentence.
It further mentions that the IHC has already annulled the sentences of his co-accused Maryam and her husband, Captain Safdar, in the Avenfield case but rejected his appeal due to non-attendance in court hearings.
The application explains that health issues prevented Nawaz Sharif from pursuing the appeals and that he did not misuse the bail granted to him. It states that while Nawaz Sharif is not completely healthy, he returned to the country due to the economic challenges facing Pakistan.
The application claims that the former PM never misused his bail and couldn’t appear in court due to medical grounds. Medical reports have consistently been submitted to the Lahore High Court (LHC).