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Islamabad High Court acquits Nawaz Sharif in Avenfield reference case

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Islamabad | November 30, 2023 12:18:45 AM IST
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) acquitted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield reference case, The Express Tribune reported on Wednesday.

It reported that a bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the verdict.

During the hearing today, Nawaz's counsel Amjad Pervaiz took to the rostrum and contended that the accountability court had acquitted Nawaz from Section 9A of the NAB Ordinance in the Avenfield reference.

He added that now only Section 9A(5) remains in the case which pertains to assets beyond means and then read the law out in court.

After the counsel had finished reading aloud the law, Justice Aurangzeb said the court relied on several judgments by the apex court for the verdict on the suspension of the sentence, The Express Tribune reported.

He added that the Supreme Court had further elaborated on the matter and directed the lawyer to assist the court on this.

The Express Tribune reported that Pervaiz then argued that the investigation agency has to investigate the source of the assets and then compare known sources of income.

He further argued that the investigation failed to prove all sections added to the case and then submitted details of Nawaz's assets in court.

IHC CJ Farooq then asked the counsel whether the assets were requisitioned at the same time or separately. The lawyer replied that the properties were obtained between 1993 and 1996 and maintained that there was no mention that the properties were linked to the PML-N supremo.

"There is not a single reference that can prove, without doubt, that Nawaz had any connection with the said properties."

Referring to the cross-examination of Wajid Zia, Pervaiz said Zia had also said there was no evidence to link Nawaz with the properties.

Continuing his arguments, the counsel added that there was no verbal or documented proof that the properties were owned by the PML-N supremo.

When asked if the onus was on the prosecution to prove, Pervaiz replied in the affirmative.

He added that the prosecution was also responsible for explaining how the public office was used to aquire benaami properties and maintained that the trial court had announced the verdict in the "basis of assumption" and issued the judgment on the generality of evidence.

The Express Tribune reported Nawaz's counsel, referring to the verdict, said the court had ruled that the prosecution did not have any document to prove as evidence in the case.

Nawaz Sharif was convicted in the Avenfield reference and the Al-Azizia reference respectively in July 2018 and Dec 2018. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed these references on the order given by the Supreme Court. Nawaz Sharif filed appeals against his conviction in the IHC. (ANI)

 
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