SC rejects NAB plea challenging IHC decision to hear Sharifs’ petitions

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau challenging the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) decision to hear Sharifs’ petitions against the Avenfield verdict.
The anti-graft body had requested the top court to set aside the IHC’s September 10 decision to proceed with the petitions of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar for the suspension of sentences awarded by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference.
However, imposing a Rs20,000 fine on the bureau, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar noted that justice should be served to petitioners.
“Why does NAB file such baseless petitions?” the chief justice remarked.
Admonishing NAB Prosecutor Akram Qureshi for challenging the IHC’s decision, the chief justice said: “This is the [regular] mechanism. What is illegal in the high court’s order?”
On September 15, the anti-graft body had moved the Supreme Court in an effort to keep the IHC from ruling on an application from the Sharif family seeking the suspension of the Avenfield verdict.
Nawaz, his daughter Maryam, and son-in-law Captain (retired) Mohammad Safdar Awan had moved the IHC to suspend the verdict in the Avenfields properties reference after they were convicted by Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir on July 6, 2018.
The accountability court had sentenced Nawaz to 10 years in prison, Maryam to seven years and handed a one-year sentence to Captain (retd) Safdar.
According to a petition submitted in court by NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal, the high court did not send NAB a notice before accepting the Sharif family’s petition for hearing.
“The high court cannot rule on the Sharif family’s petition without listening to NAB’s perspective,” the petition said.
Furthermore, the NAB chief said in his petition that ruling on the suspension application is not in the high court’s jurisdiction and thus the IHC should be stopped from hearing the petition at all.