ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) acquitted Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield reference case, as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) withdrew the case.
Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb delivered the verdict on Sharif’s appeal challenging his conviction, overturning a 2018 accountability court decision sentencing him to 10 years in prison.
The charges included ownership of assets beyond known income and non-cooperation with the NAB, serving concurrently.
In December 2020, the IHC declared Nawaz Sharif a proclaimed offender, leading to his stay in London for almost four years.
Upon his return last month, he filed an application to reinstate his appeal, citing dismissal during medical treatment abroad. Last month, the IHC reinstated the appeal based on its merits.
During proceedings, Sharif’s legal team, led by Amjad Pervez, argued that Section 9A(5) of the NAB Ordinance required proving the accused as a public office holder.
Pervez emphasized the prosecution’s failure to establish all aspects of the alleged crime, presenting date-wise information on Nawaz’s assets and stressing the lack of evidence.
He questioned the timing and linkage of requisitioned properties, asserting they were obtained from 1993 to 1996 with no direct connection to Nawaz.
Amjad Pervez underscored the absence of documentation supporting ownership and patronage claims, challenging the court’s assumption-based verdict.
He referenced a Lahore High Court decision acquitting an NAB suspect on similar grounds. Justice Aurangzeb outlined four categories for proving benaami properties or accounts, seeking clarification under the NAB Ordinance. The NAB prosecutor attributed the reference to a Supreme Court judgment.