The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday rejected the appeal filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the suspension of sentence by the Islamabad High Court awarded to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield corruption reference.
A five-member bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan heard the appeal. The court has said that NAB has failed to provide any proof for the cancellation of bail and the IHC has not exceeded its authority in granting bail to the convicts of the Avenfield reference.
The Chief Justice asked the NAB lawyer to convince them why the high court’s verdict should be suspended. The NAB prosecutor claimed that bail can only be granted in case of “hardship”, which was not the reason behind IHC’s verdict.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who is set to succeed Justice Nisar as the top judge, said that NAB’s argument was not “solid” and rejected the claim that the high court had exceeded its authority.
In July 2018, an accountability court had handed Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond known income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB.
In Sept 2018, the IHC had accepted their petitions and suspended the trio’s respective prison sentences.
NAB approached the apex court after the Islamabad High Court suspended sentences awarded to the Sharif family in the Avenfield reference.
Previously Maryam was given seven years for abetment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father” and one year for non-cooperation with the bureau. Meanwhile, Nawaz’s son-in-law retired Captain Safdar has been given one year jail time for not cooperating with NAB and aiding Nawaz and Maryam.