The hearing on appeals filed by jailed leader Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law against their conviction in a corruption case has been adjourned till the last week of July. They were hoping to come out of jail before the election to boost the chances of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or PML-N.
Elections in Pakistan will be held on July 25. Mr Sharif's party has been banking on his early release to power up its campaign.
Mr Sharif, 68, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain Muhammad Safdar (retired) on Monday filed the appeals in the Islamabad High Court challenging the verdict in the Avenfield corruption case.
A two-member bench of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb heard the appeals and issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau, and ordered to give to the court the record of the case.
The bench adjourned the hearing till the last week of July, which means that the hearing will be held after July 25, the day of the elections.
The court also declined to suspend the conviction in the case until the appeals were decided.
Earlier, Mr Sharif's aide and PML-N leader Pervaiz Rashid asked the court to decide the appeals without wasting any time. "We want that the appeal should be decided as quickly as the trial was held," he said.
On July 6, Mr Sharif was sentenced to 10 years, Ms Maryam seven years and Mr Safdar one year in the Avenfield corruption case over illegal properties in a posh area of London.
Mr Sharif's lawyer Khawaja Haris filed his appeal while Amjad Pervez filed the appeals for Ms Maryam and her husband. All the three are at Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.
Mr Haris also moved another application on behalf of Mr Sharif to suspend his sentence until the appeals against the conviction was decided by the high court. Another application sought to transfer his remaining cases to a different court after conviction in the Avenfield case by Justice Mohammad Bashir, who is also hearing the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship reference cases.
The court is yet to decide on the transfer of cases. The trial judge has written to the high court that he had no objection if the cases were assigned to another judge.
Mr Sharif and his daughter Ms Maryam were arrested in Lahore on July 13 after they arrived from London after the accountability court sentenced them guilty in the Avenfield corruption case.