Avenfield Apartments reference: IHC defers pleas of Maryam, Safdar till 15th

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), on Tuesday, deferred appeals of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt Safdar Awan (retired) against their conviction in the Avenfield Apartments reference till July 15. A division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kayani heard the appeals. During the hearing, Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez requested the court to defer the hearing for three weeks mentioning that he has just recovered from Covid-19 and was not completely feeling well.

Justice Aamer observed that the court would fix the appeals for hearing once or twice in a week. However, the petitioners’ lawyer, Amjad Pervaiz prayed before the court to grant three weeks for preparation of his arguments in the case as he had suffered from Covid-19.

Justice Farooq remarked that the court could make sitting arrangements for the lawyer to give arguments. The lawyer, however, said that he was still facing health problems and needed more time to recover fully. Justice Farooq said the court could not delay the case further. Then, the lawyer said that he needed time to prepare arguments as he would also present some cases references before the bench.

The IHC bench said that if the petitioner’s lawyer was not ready for arguments then this court could hear arguments from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi. The court also separated appeals of the NAB and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from Maryam Nawaz and Safdar’s appeals for further hearing of the cases.

Then, the bench also adjourned the hearing on the NAB’s appeals against the acquittal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Flagship Investment reference and seeking enhancement in his sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case till July 28.

Maryam Nawaz and Muhammad Safdar had filed appeals against their sentences in Avenfield reference, while Nawaz Sharif had challenged his imprisonment sentences in Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield property cases.

However, the NAB had challenged the acquittal of Nawaz Sharif in Flagship Investment reference and also pleaded to extend the imprisonment sentence of Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.

The former prime minister was handed a total of 11-year imprisonment sentence and slapped 1.3 billion fine.

Maryam Nawaz was sentenced eight-year jail along with a fine of Rs335 million in Avenfield Apartment reference by the accountability court. Muhammad Safdar was given one-year sentence without any fine.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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