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IHC acquits Nawaz Sharif in Avenfield reference

IHC acquits Nawaz Sharif in Avenfield reference

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IHC acquits Nawaz Sharif in Avenfield referenceIHC acquits Nawaz Sharif in Avenfield reference

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was on Wednesday acquitted in the Avenfield reference by the Islamabad High Court in what is being seen as a major legal victory for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The court also dismissed the plea filed by the National Accountability Bureau in the Flagship reference against the PML-N leader’s acquittal after the accountability watchdog withdrew it.

The verdict was announced by a two-judge bench headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb.

Interacting with media outside the court, Nawaz Sharif said he had entrusted the matter to Almighty God who has vindicated him. “Also in Al-Azizia reference, I’ve left the matter to Almighty God,” added the three-time premier.

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Commenting on the high court’s verdict, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, who had recently been acquitted along with her spouse Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar in the Avenfield reference, wrote on X, “When a person, despite enduring injustice, entrusts their affairs to Allah Almighty, then He makes the person triumphant in the eyes of the whole world. This is an example of gratitude, praise be to Allah!”

During Wednesday’s hearing, the court heard the arguments of the two sides that lasted two hours, and later acquitted former premier Nawaz Sharif.

At the outset of the proceedings, Amjad Pervez, the counsel for Nawaz Sharif, informed the court that the co-accused in the case, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (r) Safdar, had been acquitted earlier this year.

He stated, “The allegations levelled against them included aiding the crime. Islamabad High Court’s acquittal of the co-accused is final.”

Nawaz’s counsel asked the court whether or not his client had to mention the price of the assets when they had been purchased when he disclosed his assets to the relevant authorities.

The lawyer also mentioned that there had been cases in which the value of the assets was known, but not the income, noting that in such cases, the court had declared that the case could not be made because the income was not known.

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When Justice Aurangzeb asked the counsel about the first thing the prosecution should prove when making its case, the counsel replied that the prosecution should first prove that the accused was an officeholder and he had listed two more things.

Nawaz Sharif’s counsel remarked that accountability watchdog had not been able to prove anything. “Neither in the Panama verdict, JIT nor in NAB investigation reports could NAB prove Nawaz Sharif’s relationship with the property,” he added.

Ex-FIA DG Wajid Zia, the lawyer, also admitted that there was no evidence that proved Nawaz Sharif’s relationship to the properties.

Upon this, Nawaz Sharif’s counsel stated that it was the NAB’s responsibility to prove that Nawaz had paid for the property.

When IHC CJ Justice Farooq asked whether all of this was the prosecution’s job. Nawaz’s counsel replied in the affirmative.

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Later the court acquitted Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield reference.

In July 2018, a trial court convicted Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield reference for owning assets beyond known sources of income. He had been awarded 10 years in jail along with a fine of approximately Rs1.3 billion.

Both Nawaz and his daughter Maryam were arrested in Lahore in July 2018 on their return from London.

Later in December same year, Nawaz was awarded a seven-year jail term and a fine of Rs1.5 billion in the Al-Azizia reference by a NAB court.

Nawaz was diagnosed with an immune system disorder while serving the sentence in the Al-Azizia reference and was therefore permitted to proceed abroad for treatment.

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Subsequently, an IHC bench, headed by Justice Farooq, dismissed his appeals against conviction on June 24, 2021, for his failure to attend proceedings.

Upon his return to Pakistan back in October, Nawaz surrendered before the court, requesting his appeals be restored.

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

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4.3 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Punjab

An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale struck various parts of Punjab including Lahore on Monday 

People came out of their homes in panic and started reciting verses from the Holy Quran. No loss of life and property was reported in any part of Punjab. 

According to the National Seismic Monitoring Centre, Islamabad, the epicentre of the earthquake was located five kilometres south of Sheikhupura at the depth of 45 kilometres.

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

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Pakistan Army shoots down Indian quadcopter on LoC

Pakistan Army has shot down a spy quadcopter of Indian Army on the Line of Control (LoC).

According to a statement issued by the Public Relations Department of the Pakistan Army (ISPR), on Monday, an Indian Air Force quadcopter spying on Pakistan was shot down.

The ISPR said that the army has found the downed quadcopter inside Pakistani territory.

It may be recalled that it is the fifth anniversary of Operation Swift Retort today. On February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian fighter planes that violated Pakistani airspace. 

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

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PTI founder, Bushra Bibi indicted in 190m pound case

 An accountability court indicted the PTI founder and his wife Bushra Bibi in the ill-famous 190 million pound case – also previously known as Al-Qadir Trust case – as the judge, Nasir Javed Rana, held hearing at the Adiala jail.

All the cases involving the former PTI chairman are being heard at the jail premises – where he is imprisoned – because of the security threats, for which Bushra Bibi was shifted from her Bani Gala residence where she is serving her sentences in two cases – Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

Meanwhile, her husband has so far been convicted in three cases – cipher, Toshakhana and illegal/un-Islamic marriage.

During the proceedings, the two accused pleaded not guilty, as the judge adjourned proceedings till March 6 while also summoning five witnesses to record their statements on next hearing.

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However, the accountability court accepted two pleas filed by the PTI founder, requesting permission for an appointment with his dentist and general physician.

Previously, the indictment had been postponed on several occasions due to the absence of Mohammad Bashir – the accountability court judge who is set to retire on March 14 and has applied for leave preparatory to retirement (LPR).

However, the law ministry last week appointed District and Sessions Judge Rana as an Accountability Court No 1 Islamabad judge to replace Bashir who went on leave on deputation for a period of three years. 

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