The Islamabad High Court also set up a two-member bench comprising Justices Amir Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kiani to hear the appeal. The bench will also hear Sharif’s petition for suspension of his sentence.
On December 24, 2018, an accountability court sentenced 69-year-old Sharif to seven years in prison along with a fine of Rs 1.5 billion and USD 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.
Sharif filed an appeal against his conviction in the Islamabad High Court and also filed a separate petition seeking suspension of the sentence until adjudication of his appeal.
Later, he filed an application for early scheduling of his appeal, which was accepted and set for hearing on January 21.
Three cases – Avenfield properties case, Flagship investment case and Al-Azizia steel mills case – were filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the Supreme Court that disqualified Sharif in the Panama Papers case.
In July, 2018 Sharif, his daughter Maryam and his son-in-law Captain (retd) M Safdar were sentenced to 10 years, seven years and one year respectively in prison in the Avenfield properties case related to their purchase of four luxury flats in London through corrupt practices. However, the three were bailed out by the Islamabad High Court in September.
Sharif was acquitted in the Flagship case due to insufficient evidence.
He has maintained that the cases against him were initiated on the basis of allegations levelled by his political rivals and the report of a joint investigation team in the Panama Papers case was biased.
The National Accountability Bureau has also filed two appeals in the Islamabad High Court against Sharif.
The first appeal sought an extension in Sharif’s sentence from seven to 14 years in the Al-Azizia case, while the second challenged his acquittal in the Flagship Investment case.
So far the court has not fixed any date for hearing of NAB appeals.