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Al-Azizia Reference: NAB Says Nawaz Sharif’s Petition for Suspension of Sentence Not Maintainable

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Saturday requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to dismiss a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for suspension of his sentence in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference and said it was not maintainable.

Accountability court Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik on December 24 last year had awarded Nawaz seven-year imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs1.5 billion and $25 million. The three-time former prime minister is currently serving his sentence in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail.

He had in January challenged his conviction in the IHC, claiming that the verdict was marred with flaws and legal lacunas. He had also filed an application seeking suspension of the sentence.

But NAB in its reply has stated that Nawaz’s health had not deteriorated during his incarceration and he was in a “stable condition”. Moreover, there is neither a recommendation of immediate surgery to be performed on him nor does the prognosis in his medical reports indicate a “severe ailment endangering the life of the petitioner”.

“The so-called stress factor is not [a] life-threatening disease and has been inferred from the certification of doctors procured by the personal physician of the petitioner and therefore has no bearing as to [the] physical and medical condition of the petitioner,” it said.

It said the Supreme Court through its order of March 26 had given him the opportunity to get the treatment of his choice, albeit in Pakistan, “which was not availed by him”, DAWN reported.

The Bureau stated that Nawaz’s physical and mental health is constantly monitored in the jail, adding: “The petitioner has failed to make a case of extraordinary circumstances and of extreme hardship.”

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The NAB also claimed that there was all the likelihood that the PML-N supremo may abuse the concession of bail, if granted by the court.

It said the former prime minister’s appeal against his conviction in the corruption reference was fixed for hearing in the IHC “as an alternate and efficacious remedy” and thus his petition for the suspension of the sentence merits should be dismissed.


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