ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday once again filed a supplementary plea in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the seven-year jail term awarded to him in the Al Azizia reference.
An accountability court on December 24 had found the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader guilty in the Al Azizia Steel Mills reference and sentenced him to seven years in prison.
Nawaz had filed an appeal against the punishment and also submitted a petition seeking suspension of the sentence.
Earlier today, the former premier petitioned IHC to schedule a hearing of his appeal at the earliest possible date.
The petition, submitted by his counsel Khawaja Haris, stated that a two-member IHC bench has heard the plea, and clubbed petitions seeking suspension of Nawaz’s sentence with the appeal against his conviction in the reference.
Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed appeals on the accountability court’s verdict in Flagship and Al Azizia references.
The anti-graft body has maintained that it presented solid proofs against Nawaz on his financial malpractices in the Flagship reference, hence releasing him on the pretext of the benefit of the doubt would be contrary to the law.
In its second appeal, NAB has requested the court to extend Nawaz’s seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia case.
Al-Azizia reference details
Hussain Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister’s elder son, claims that he received a sum of $5.4 million from his grandfather to establish the steel conglomerate in Saudi Arabia. The payment was made by a Qatari royal on the request of the elder Sharif. Thereafter, scrap machinery was transported from their Ahli Steel Mills in Dubai to Jeddah to establish Al-Azizia in 2001.
The JIT constituted to investigate the graft allegations insisted that the real owner of the mills was Nawaz Sharif, and it was being operated by his son on his behalf. Hussain was 29-years-old at the time. The JIT also held that Nawaz Sharif received 97 per cent profit as ‘gifts’ from Hill Metals Establishment, another company established by Hussain Nawaz Sharif in 2005, in Saudi Arabia.
Of the amount, Nawaz Sharif transferred 77 percent to his daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif. (Maryam is not accused in this reference). Here as well, the NAB claims that since Sharif received a large profit from Hussain’s companies, he is the real owner and not his son. However, during the proceedings the NAB could not substantiate its claim through documentary evidences and instead placed the burden of proof on the accused.