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Court indefinitely postpones hearing of Sharif’s plea seeking suspension of sentence

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A top court in Pakistan on Monday indefinitely postponed hearing of a petition filed by jailed former premier Nawaz Sharif seeking suspension of his sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.

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On December 24, 2018, Accountability Court II Judge Arshad Malik sentenced 69-year-old Sharif to seven years in prison along with a fine of Rs 1.5 billion and $ 25 million in the Al-Azizia corruption case, concluding a series of three court cases against the Sharif family in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal.

The three-time former premier is serving his term in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail.

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Sharif filed an appeal against his conviction in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and a petition to suspend sentence until adjudication on appeal.

A two-member IHC bench led by Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition and postponed it with the observation that it can only be heard after hearing of the appeal started.

The court has so far not set any date for hearing of Sharif’s appeal.

In the appeal filed through his lawyer in the Islamabad High Court, Sharif argued that he was convicted on the basis of presumptions and his sentence should be set aside.

He said that  the trial court verdict was based on misunderstandings as it failed to properly evaluate the objections by the defence.

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