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Mian Nawaz Sharif acquitted in plane hijacking case

Supreme Court (SC) has acquitted PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif in plane hijacking case ruling the allegations leveled in this case have no relevance with the former prime minister.

A 5-member bench of SC led by justice Tassadaq Hussain Jillani and comprising justice Nasirul Mulk, justice Muhammad Moosa K Leghari, justice Sheikh Hakim Ali and justice Ghulam Rabbani pronounced the judgment.

The SC 5-member bench while acquitting Mian Nawaz Sharif honorably in plane hijacking case in a unanimous decision had also declared the punishment awarded by Sindh High Court (SHC) and Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) in this case.

The hearing of review appeal started on June 8 and larger bench of SC had reserved the judgment on June, 18.

Reading out the decision justice Nasirul Mulk observed PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif was inducted as prime minister in 1996 and he was also holding the portfolio of defence minister.

Nawaz Sharif appointed former general Pervez Musharraf as army chief of staff during his tenure, he observed. Nawaz Sharif replaced Gen (Retd) Pervez Musharraf with Gen Zia ud Din on October, 12, 1999 at 4.30 p.m and reports in this regard were relayed on electronic media at 5 pm. Gen Pervez Musharraf was in Sri Lanka due to his visit to this country at that time. His flight was to land at 6.55 pm at Karachi airport on that day. Mian Nawaz Sharif was accused of issuing orders that flight be neither allowed to land at Karachi airport nor on any other airport of the country and it be diverted to some other country.

However Gen Musharraf flight land at Karachi airport at 7.50 pm and he took over the control of the country.

A month after Pervez Musharraf coming to power, Lt Col Attiq ul Zaman Kiayani registered FIR under different sections including section 7 of ant terrorism act that Mian Nawaz Sharif tried to hijack the applicant and plane and this bid on his part put at stake lives of all the passengers on board.

With the registration of FIR, ATC awarded punishment of life imprisonment for two time, fine of Rs 500000 and in case of default of payment of fine, 5 years he would have to serve five years term more. Mian Nawaz Sharif was also ordered to pay compensation of Rs 2 million each to all the passengers on board the flight

The petitioner Mian Nawaz Sharif filed 3 appeals against his conviction in Sindh High Court (SHC) which upheld the punishment awarded to Mian Nawaz Sharif. However life imprisonment term was reduced to one time and the amount of fine was set at Rs 500 million. The detailed decision was announced by SHC after one year. Later former prime minister was exiled being given pardon by the former president. After 7 years of his exile the petitioner Mian Nawaz Sharif returned home on November, 25, 2007 and filed review plea against the punishment awarded on him by SHC and ATC on April, 28, 2009.

Advocate Haris appeared on the court on behalf of petitioner. He took the plea his client Mian Nawaz Sharif was forcibly exiled, therefore, he could not approach SC. Mian Nawaz Sharif also took principled stand in the movement for restoration of judiciary and he remained firm in his resolve in connection with independence of judiciary.

SC while granting appeal plea of the petitioner on May, 11, 2009 issued notices and constituted a larger bench to hear the case.

Prosecutor General Sindh Shahadat Awan and advocate general Sindh Yousuf Leghari appeared before the court for persuading the punishment awarded by SHC and ATC.
Advocate Gen Sindh Yousuf Leghari took the plea during the hearing Mian Nawaz Sharif had gone abroad after being pardoned by the then president. He was filing review appeal plea after 8 years. The time for filing review appeal has expired and the court had no powers to hear the review petition, therefore, the appeal be rejected.

Khawaja Haris council for Mian Nawaz Sharif argued Prime Minister could issue executive order being chief executive. However the then prime minister had issued no orders for hijacking plane of former army chief Pervez Musharraf plane nor he had switched off the lights of run way of airport and erected barricade. The allegations leveled by the prosecution cution baseless and unfounded. The applicant wanted to approach SC but emergency was put in place and he was being prevented from coming

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