Pakistan’s ex-PM, daughter appeal against jail sentence

In this file photo, ousted Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz attend a UK PMLN Party Workers Convention meeting with supporters in London on July 11, 2018. (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Pakistan’s ex-PM, daughter appeal against jail sentence

  • High court is bound to decide on the appeals within 30 days under the National Accountability Ordinance
  • Sharif and his daughter were arrested at Lahore airport as they arrived in Pakistan on July 13 after they had been sentenced to 10 years and 7 years respectively

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ex-premier, and his daughter and son-in-law, on Monday challenged the verdict of an accountability court in the Avenfield properties corruption case by filing separate appeals in Islamabad High Court.
Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar are currently behind bars after a court in Islamabad on July 6 sentenced Nawaz and Maryam in absentia to 10 years and 7 years with a £8 million fine and £2 million fine respectively on corruption charges. Safdar was given a one-year sentence without any fine.
Sharif and his family members appealed to the court through their lawyers to annul the verdict of the accountability court and release the defendants on bail until the final decision of the court. 
“The accountability court’s verdict is in contradiction with the law and declaring it void would serve justice,” Maryam’s legal counsel Amjad Pervaiz told the media after filing the appeals.
“Our case is very strong and on merit. We hope to get some relief,” he said, while pointing out legal flaws in the judgment.
On July 13, both Nawaz and Maryam were arrested at Lahore airport on their arrival from London and sent to Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, to serve their sentence. 
The two leaders were in London at the time of the verdict with Nawaz’s wife and Maryam’s mother Kulsoom Nawaz who is battling cancer. She has reportedly been on life-support since June 14.
In separate appeals in the high court, their lawyers urged the court to set aside the accountability court’s verdict, suspend the verdict until the high court adjudicates on the appeals and release the trio on bail.
One of the appeals pointed out that the prosecution had provided no evidence establishing the ex-premier as the owner of the London flats.
Sharif family’s lawyers have also urged the high court to transfer the two remaining corruption references against Nawaz — the Flagship Enterprises and Al-Azizia case — to another accountability judge, arguing that the same judge could not hear another case against the accused after giving judgment in the Avenfield case. 
Sharafat Ali, high court senior advocate, said that it was at the discretion of the chief justice of Islamabad High Court to fix the appeals for hearing, but it was most likely that a divisional bench of the court would hear the appeals from this week.
“Under the National Accountability Ordinance, the high court is bound to give its verdict on the appeals within 30 days,” he told Arab News.
Ali said that if the high court rejected the appeals, the Sharif family would have a chance to challenge the matter in the Supreme Court. “It is a long legal battle and the Sharif family may not get an immediate relief,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif was ousted from the Supreme Court in July last year in a Panama Papers case. The court had directed the National Accountability Bureau to file corruption references against the deposed premier and his family members for having assets beyond their known sources of income.
Professor Tahir Malik, political analyst and academic, said that it was almost impossible that Sharif and his daughter Maryam would be released on bail before the July 25 general elections.
“Both Nawaz and Maryam will have to serve their jail term with grace if they really want to come out as political heroes and revive the fortunes of their embattled political party,” he told Arab News.


Man arrested for London mosque shooting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Man arrested for London mosque shooting

  • The suspect was charged with possession of firearms with intent to cause harm or fear
  • Police say the suspect may have had a fight earlier in a nearby street

DUBAI: A man has been arrested after he fired a gun in a London mosque, UK daily The Metro reported.

The man entered the Seven Kings Mosque in London, on Thursday, May 9, while worshippers performed Ramadan prayers and fired a gun, the report added.

He was arrested on charges of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
There were no reports of injuries or damages to the building, ballistic evidence suggests the detainee may have used a blank-firing handgun, police said.

Police investigations said it is possible the incident started after an earlier argument in a nearby street.

A mosque attendee, Ibraheem Hussain, said he heard the gunshot almost half an hour after prayers began, adding that he was concerned for the safety of worshippers.

“(Christchurch) comes to mind, it’s crazy to think this would happen in London, especially after everything that has happened,” he told Metro.