Nawaz Sharif to appear before court in Toshkhana case today

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo, Nawaz Sharif, Tuesday will appear in an accountability court and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to attend the hearing of the Toshkhana reference as well as the plea for revival of his appeals against conviction in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia reference cases.

Ahead of his arrival before the accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir in Islamabad today, the bomb disposal squad completely emptied the courtroom and searched it for security purposes.

A heavy contingent of the Islamabad Police has also been deployed both inside and outside the Federal Judicial Complex in the capital where the hearing of the Toshakhana case against him is scheduled to take place today. Only relevant lawyers and journalists will be allowed to enter the accountability court.

The court has, meanwhile, suspended the PML-N supremo’s permanent warrant in the case to date. According to the court’s decision, if Nawaz does not appear before the judge today, the aforementioned warrant against him will be restored.

Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Zardari and Senator Yusuf Raza Gilani are also co-accused in the said case.

Nawaz is being represented by his counsel Qazi Misbah in the case, who has filed three different applications in the accountability court on his behalf which include the restoration of the PML-N supremo’s annexed property in the case; appointment of Nawaz’s pleader in the case; and an application to submit the politician’s bail bonds.

Meanwhile, Zardari’s lawyer and senior PPP leader Farooq H Naek appeared in the court on behalf of his client to seek an exemption from attending the hearing.

Nawaz, on the other hand, was granted protective bail in two graft cases while his arrest warrant in the Toshakhana case was suspended by an accountability court on Thursday, two days before his return to Pakistan on October 21.

Nawaz to surrender before IHC

On the other hand, the PML-N supremo is also scheduled to appear before the Islamabad High Court and surrender in a case filed against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference.

The high court has already granted protective bail to the senior politician to date, ordering to stop his arrest in the case. The anti-graft body had not objected to Nawaz getting the security bond.

A hearing, conducted by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mian Gul Hasan Aurangzeb, will be held today on the appeals against the PML-N supremo’s conviction in the aforementioned reference as well as the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references.

The hearing will begin after 2:30 pm today. The NAB reference will be heard by the regular bench, while the appeals against conviction in Avenfield and Al-Azizia references will be overseen by a special divisional bench.

Nawaz, on Monday, moved the IHC seeking restoration of appeals against the accountability courts’ verdicts in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases.

His counsel filed the petitions, requesting the court to hear the appeals on merit as earlier they were discarded for non-compliance when the PML-N supremo did not return from London after he was granted permission by the court in November 2019 to go abroad for medical treatment.

In the Avenfield petition, the PML-N chief maintained that he was sentenced in absentia on July 6, 2018 in Avenfield reference as he could not attend a court hearing in view of his wife’s ailment who was undergoing treatment and on the ventilator at a hospital in London.

Nawaz said his appeals against the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references were not dismissed on merit rather they were discarded for non-compliance.

In the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, the PML-N stalwart was sentenced to seven years in jail on Dec 24, 2018 and then taken to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail from where he was shifted to Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail next day.

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