Islamabad High Court acquits Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia corruption reference

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Islamabad [Pakistan], December 12: In yet another major victory for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Islamabad High Court (IHC) acquitted PML-N Supremo Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia case on Tuesday.
The verdict was announced by a two-judge bench comprised of IHC Chief Justice (CJ) Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb while hearing Nawaz’s appeal against his conviction in the Al-Azizia reference earlier in the day.
Nawaz was convicted in two graft cases, one of which was the Al-Azizia case. On November 29, the same bench acquitted him in the Avenfield case.
On December 24, 2018, he was sentenced to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case. In addition, he was fined (PKR) 1.5 billion and USD 25 million.
The reference is to the Sharifs’ inability to explain the source of the funds used to establish Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment (HME) in Saudi Arabia.
In December 2020, the IHC declared him a proclaimed offender in the case. Nawaz left for London on medical grounds and stayed for nearly four years, returning to the country in October of this year.
Nawaz formally filed two separate applications shortly after his return, seeking the restoration of his appeals against the conviction in reference.
The application stated that while the PML-N supreme leader was abroad for medical treatment, the pending appeals were dismissed for non-prosecution.
On October 24, the IHC reopened Nawaz’s appeals in both cases. The court previously rejected the National Accountability Bureau’s recommendation that Nawaz’s conviction in the reference be overturned and the case retried.
Nawaz arrived in court with senior PML-N leaders including Ishaq Dar and Azam Nazeer Tarar ahead of today’s hearing.

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