Nawaz Sharif challenges conviction

Islamabad: Incarcerated former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday challenged his conviction in Al-Azizia reference in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). On December 24, an accountability court handed seven years’ imprisonment to the three-time prime minister and asked him to pay $25 million and Rs1.5 billion as penalties in the Al-Azizia reference, whereas it acquitted him in the Flagship Investment reference for want of evidence. Sharif’s lawyer, Khawaja Haris, filed an appeal in the high court today, requesting it to set aside his client’s conviction in the graft case filed against him and members of his family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict. He also moved a separate petition seeking release of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) supremo on bail until the court decides the aforesaid appeal. Haris argued in the appeal that every Pakistani had right to fair trial. The accountability court didn’t take into account his contention while deciding the case, he claimed. He said his client expected to get justice from the high court. A two-judge bench of the court will hear and decide the appeal and bail petition. IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah will likely fix the case for hearing before a bench tomorrow. The PML-N supreme leader is currently serving his prison term in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail.