Bail in Toshakhana case confirmed: Nawaz's protective bail in Avenfield, Al-Azizia cases extended till 26th.

ISLAMABAD -- The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday extended PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif's protective bail in Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases till October 26 and an accountability court confirmed his bail in Toshakhana case while the Punjab government suspended the former PM's sentence in Al-Azizia reference.

An IHC division bench, comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, issued the order on Nawaz's petitions seeking protective bail in the cases and restoration of his appeals against his conviction.

In July 2018, ousted Nawaz was handed 10 years in jail in the Avenfield properties corruption reference for owning assets beyond known income and one year for not cooperating with the NAB, which was to be served concurrently.

The Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference pertains to the case in which he was sentenced to seven years in jail on Dec 24, 2018 and then taken to Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail, from where he was shifted to Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail next day. He was also fined Rs1.5 billion and US$25 million in the case.

Nawaz was released from jail in March 2019, following which he left for London in November 2019 after the LHC allowed him to do so. The IHC declared him a proclaimed offender in both cases in December 2020.

Last week, the IHC had confirmed Nawaz's protective bail in the cases till Oct 24, paving the way for his homecoming on Oct 21.

During the proceedings today, Nawaz appeared before the court along with his brother Shehbaz Sharif and several other party leaders.

At the outset of the hearing, PML-N's Azam Nazir Tarar said the accountability court had suspended Nawaz's warrants in the Toshakhana case and approved his bail against surety bonds.

Here, Justice Farooq said there were two petitions in front of the high court, both of which were related to restoring appeals against Nawaz's conviction. 'We have to issue notices on these applications,' the judge added.

Meanwhile, Justice Aurangzeb said that for the restoration of the appeals, the petitioner had to explain why he remained absent from the court.

At that, Tarar said: 'We just want to move as per the law and you are an expert at that.'

However, Justice Farooq maintained that keeping Article 10-A (right to a fair trial) of the Constitution aside, the petitioner had to provide an explanation for his absences from the court.

'You will have to prove that your absences were not deliberate and based on ill intention,' Justice Farooq added.

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