The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday acquitted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield reference case.
The former prime minister also won relief in another case when the National Accountability Bureau withdrew its appeal against his acquittal in the Flagship reference.
An IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the verdict on Sharif’s plea to overturn his conviction in the graft case.
“I had left it up to Allah. In Al-Azizia [Steel Mills corruption reference] also, I’ve also left my matters up to Allah,” Sharif said while talking to media persons outside the court after the verdict was announced.
During the hearing, Sharif’s lawyer told the court that Maryam and Capt Safdar (retd) were acquitted earlier this year under the same sections of the NAB Ordinance.
Justice Aurangzeb remarked that the court relied on several decisions of the Supreme Court in the decision to suspend the sentence.
The PML-N leader was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July 2018 by an accountability court in the Avenfield properties corruption case for owning assets beyond known income and one year for refusing to cooperate with the NAB. The sentences were to be served concurrently.
In December 2020, the IHC declared him a proclaimed offender in the case. Nawaz left the country for London for medical reasons, spent almost four years there, and returned home last month.
What was the Avenfield case
There is an apartment block in Park Lane, London – is the house where four different properties (Flat 16, 16a, 17 and 17a) belonging to the Sharifs are located. The flats are next to Hyde Park, one of London’s most expensive districts.
At the end of 2016 after the Panama Papers were leaked, Sharif, his three children and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar were accused of corruption in the Avenfield case.
The Sharif family was accused of keeping flats through illegal sources. Sharif’s family, on the other hand, said that the ownership belongs to his sons.
In 2017, Sharif denied the allegations against him and his family claiming that the money was rightly earned during his term.
He said that the family bought the flats after selling a paper mill in Saudi Arabia in 2006. NAB investigated the matter and interrogated the Sharifs about 100 times.
The three-time former prime minister was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July 2018 by an accountability court in the Avenfield properties corruption case for owning assets beyond known income and one year for refusing to cooperate with the NAB.
More to follow…