Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been declared not guilty in the Avenfield Apartments corruption case by the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday. This comes over five years after he was found guilty by an accountability court just before the general elections in July 2018.
The division bench of the Islamabad High Court, led by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, also rejected an appeal filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Nawaz Sharif’s acquittal in the Flagship Investment reference. The NAB lawyer mentioned that the bureau was not interested in pursuing this appeal.
The three-time former premier was acquitted in the Avenfield reference, a case in which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2018 with a fine of £8 million (Rs1.92 billion).
In Dec 2018, Nawaz was sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs1.2 billion and $25 million after an accountability court found him guilty in the Al-Azizia reference. He subsequently filed appeals against his convictions in the IHC.
In a brief interaction with the media after the court’s decision, Sharif remarked, “Thanks to Allah that justice prevailed with me today. I had left my affairs to Allah, and today Allah has vindicated me. I am thankful to the Almighty.”
Responding to a query about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan not contesting intra-party elections, the former premier commented, “This is the law of nature.”
Meanwhile, Nawaz’s brother and party president Shehbaz Sharif has also expressed gratitude to the judiciary for delivering justice. “Thanks to Allah that we’re seeing this day where my leader, elder brother, party, and family have been exonerated,” he added.
Shehbaz said that his brother was innocent and the Almighty today has exonerated him of all charges.
Nawaz’s daughter and party’s Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz also hailed the court’s decision, praising the triumph as an example of resilience in the face of oppression.