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Nawaz Sharif files bail plea in Al-Azizia corruption case

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Incarcerated former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday filed a plea before the Islamabad High Court to grant him bail and suspend his seven year jail sentence in the Al-Azizia corruption case till the high court decides on his appeal against the verdict.

On December 24, the Accountability Court 2 of Islamabad handed a seven-year rigorous imprisonment to Sharif along with a fine of USD 25 million in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills/Hill Metal Establishment corruption case. The court, however, acquitted him in the Flagship Investment case.

The accountability court, as part of the Al-Azizia Steel Mills judgement, also barred Sharif, 69, from holding public office for 10 years after completing his sentence.

It also ordered the confiscation of Hill Metal Establishment and issued perpetual warrants for the arrest of Sharif's sons, Hussain and Hassan, who were declared proclaimed offenders.

According to the application, Sharif, the top leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has already challenged the sentence in the high court.

The petition claimed that the accountability court had convicted the petitioner on the basis of unacceptable evidence while the court also avoided to respond to the objections being raised by the defendant in the case.

The application claimed that putting Sharif in jail on the basis of the December 24 verdict would be a violation of basic rights of the petitioner.

The Islamabad High Court was urged to grant bail to Sharif until a decision on the appeal against the verdict is not decided.

The Al-Azizia Steel Mill case was about setting up steel mills in Saudi Arabia allegedly with corruption money.

Three cases - Avenfield properties case, Flagship Investment case and Al-Azizia steel mills case - were launched by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the apex court that disqualified Sharif in the Panama Papers case in July, 2017.

In July, 2018 Sharif, his daughter Maryam and his son-in-law Captain (retd) M Safdar were sentenced to 11 years, eight years and one year respectively in prison in the Avenfield properties case related to their purchase of four luxury flats in London through corrupt practices.

However, the three were bailed out by the Islamabad High Court in September.

The Supreme Court set the deadline for December 24 to the NAB to wrap up the remaining two corruption cases against the three-time former prime minister.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 03 2019. 20:21 IST