IHC reserves judgment on Sharif plea

 Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday announced the reserved judgment on the maintainability of the bail plea filed by former premier Nawaz Sharif, who challenged the Al-Azizia Reference verdict which sentenced him to seven years in prison. Reportedly, the court remarked that until the appeal were not heard, the petitioner s sentence could not be suspended. The court further stated that due to winter holidays, the appeals could not be heard immediately. Sharif’s legal team had last week pleaded with the court to suspend his sentence and release him on bail. Earlier, the IHC s registrar office had raised some administrative objections to the petition, however it was fixed for hearing after some delay. In the petition, he has claimed that the accountability court’s judgement was based on ‘misunderstanding’ and ‘misinterpretation of the law’, and the evidences were addressed inappropriately. The application further remarked that the grievances of the accused were not heard and addressed. Furthermore, he has requested the court for a bail until the application of suspension is not heard. The accountability court on December 24 convicted Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference and sentenced him to seven years in prison, besides imposing a fine of Rs1.5 billion, and acquitted him in the Flagship reference case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Mega corruption scandal. Contrarily, the NAB has also filed two appeals in the IHC, the first has sought an extension in Sharif’s sentence from seven to 14 years, and the other has challenged his acquittal in the Flagship Investment reference.