Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's appeal against his conviction in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills Graft case will be heard on September 18, by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Sharif who is currently serving a seven-year prison term at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since December 24, 2018 was handed the sentence by an accountability court last year. He was also fined with Rs 1.5 billion in the same case. The case pertains to owning assets beyond means, as the former Pakistan PM was unable to justify the sourcing of funds behind setting up of Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment (HME) in Saudi Arabia.
The IHC comprising of Justice Amer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani will be conducting the hearing on Wednesday. The National Accountability Court Bureau, the prosecuting agency in the case has also appealed to increase the prison sentence of Sharif. The appeal will also be taken up today by the same bench.
On July 28, 2017, following a judgement by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Sharif was sacked as the PM of Pakistan after the apex court had ordered to launch three cases of corruption against him and his family. Earlier in 2018, Sharif and his daughter Maryam and his son-in-law Mohammad Safdar were handed a sentence after being convicted in the Avenfiled case. The case was related to the ownership of the Sharif family's apartments at Avenfield House, London. However, the sentence was later suspended by the IHC.
Sharif's family and lawyer appealed to the court that he should be set free as the judgment of the corruption case was adultered and the judge who had delivered the sentence was also sacked. Justice Arshad Malik, who delivered the verdict in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case was removed from the case after Sharif's daughter Maryam had released a video in which he was allegedly seen confessing in a chat with Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML - N) leader that he was under immense pressure from certain elements to convict the three-time former Pakistan PM.
(With PTI inputs)