A Pakistani court on Thursday dismissed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s appeal against his conviction and restored 17-year sentences in two separate cases. 

A division bench of the Islamabad High Court comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani announced the verdict and dismissed Sharif’s appeal on the basis of no prosecution.

In the brief verdict, the court said Sharif could pursue his appeal before the same court on his return from abroad.

“Since the appellant is a fugitive from the law, hence he has lost his right of audience before this Court, and we are left with no choice except to dismiss his appeal,” said the court in its verdict.

“Instant appeal is dismissed. Appellant may file an application before this Court as and when he surrenders or is captured by the authorities for decision of the appeal on merits. Needless to observe that the said application, if and when it is made, shall be decided in accordance with law,” the verdict said.

In December last year, the Islamabad High Court declared Sharif an “absconder” in the cases after he failed to appear before the court.

In November 2019, the Lahore High Court granted a four-week permission to the former three-time premier to travel abroad on medical grounds.

However, according to Sharif’s family counsel, the court also had ruled that the deadline could be extended on the recommendation of doctors.

The former premier was suffering from acute immune thrombocytopenic purpura, a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, and he is currently in London for his treatment.

Sharif served as premier from 1990-1992, 1997-1999 and 2013-2017 but was unable to complete a single five-year term. One of his governments was dismissed over corruption charges in 1992 and another through a bloodless military coup in 1999.

In 2017, he was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal, which also led to the filing of three corruption cases. Not long after, the top court also barred him from holding the leadership of his party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The former ousted premier, who has twice undergone open heart surgery, was convicted in two of three corruption cases and exonerated in the third.

In the first case, Sharif was sentenced in July 2018 to 10 years in prison in a corruption case by an accountability court in Islamabad, but the Islamabad High Court suspended the conviction in September 2018.

In the second case, known as Al-Azizia, in December 2018, Sharif got seven years in prison for owning assets beyond known income sources. The court suspended the prison term and granted him eight-week bail on medical grounds in October 2019.

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