ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday exempted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from personal appearance during the hearing of his appeal against his conviction in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.
A division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiani also directed the registrar office to properly compile paper books of the case and adjourned further hearing till May 9.
An accountability court of Islamabad had convicted the former premier and supreme leader of the main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the Al-Azizia reference on Dec 24, 2018. The accountability court sentenced him to seven years imprisonment.
Earlier, Khawaja Haris Ahmed, who appeared before the bench on behalf of the former premier, disclosed that they had received paper book of the case but it was incomplete as mandatory documents were missing.
The counsel contended that part-I of the record provided to his client was different from the one provided to the high court and details of a few accounts were not available in the paper book.
Justice Farooq said it was easy to call the relevant branch for details to ascertain if they had copied the record or not.
The bench then directed the registrar office to complete the record in paper book till May 9 when the hearing would be resumed.
A day ago, the ex-premier had filed an application along with a medical certificate through his counsel seeking exemption from personal appearance during the hearing of his appeal against his conviction.
The counsel informed the court that his client was unable to attend the court proceedings due to his ailment.
The certificate issued by the Sharif Medical City, dated April 22, certified “the special medical board, constituted at Sharif Medical City…has advised Mr Muhammad Nawaz Sharif…complete rest and avoidance of stress, as it would be seriously detrimental to his health.”
“Mr Nawaz Sharif is undergoing initial stabilising treatment pending the final comprehensive recommendations from all concerned specialists/experts who have been contracted for the opinion for a definitive treatment,” the certificate stated.
The bench accepted the request seeking exemption from hearing due to the health issues and adjourned the hearing till May 9.
As the PML-N supremo had been granted bail by the Supreme Court on March 26 on medical grounds for six weeks, the bail period will expire before the next hearing of his plea for cancellation of the accountability court verdict in Al Azizia Steel Mills reference.
Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2019
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