SC dismisses NAB appeal against suspension of Sharifs’ Avenfield sentences

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday dismissed the National Accountability Bureau’s appeal against the suspension of the Sharif family’s sentences in the Avenfield reference.

A five-member bench led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, upheld the Islamabad High Court’s verdict that had ordered suspension of prison sentences awarded to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield corruption reference.

NAB had approached the apex court after IHC, on September 19, suspended prison sentences of the Sharifs awarded by an accountability court on July 6. The accountability court had convicted Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar in the Avenfield properties reference and sentenced them to 11 years, eight years and one year, respectively, in prison.

Upholding the lower court’s decision, the Supreme Court bench threw out NAB’s request to revoke the Sharifs’ bails, observing that the anti-corruption watchdog had failed to provide the “grounds for cancellation of bail”.

The IHC did not exceed its authority in granting bail to the convicts of the Avenfield reference, the bench observed.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who will be sworn in as the country’s next chief justice later this month, stated that the IHC decision was temporary and the apex court would not interfere with the decision.

“Nawaz Sharif is already behind the bars. He did not misuse the bail, and regularly appeared in the trial court [for hearings],” Justice Khosa remarked.

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