A longest-serving NAB detainee: Fawad’s grounds for appeal

December 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: One of the longest-serving detainees of the National Accountability Bureau Fawad Hassan Fawad has pleaded in the Lahore High Court to seek bail that he is being punished for not...

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ISLAMABAD: One of the longest-serving detainees of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Fawad Hassan Fawad (FHF) has pleaded in the Lahore High Court (LHC) to seek bail that he is being punished for not succumbing to the whims of the state authorities and not for any crime that he committed.

“I have no personal home except the government residence; I am nearing retirement from government job and the official home will also be returned,” he said in his grounds for bail, which were scantily reported or underplayed when he filed the plea.

Fawad Hassan, who is former principal secretary to ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and was regarded as brilliant bureaucrat, is in jail for the last seventeen months [with another bureaucrat Ahad Cheema being in prison for the last 22 months]. He was arrested on July 5, 2018 in connection with investigations in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case. He was granted bail by the LHC along with leader of the opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif, but was refused it in the assets beyond legitimate means case, which was instituted later.

“I have been imprisoned for the last one-and-half years without any crime. My health has deteriorated and medical treatment is not possible in jail,” said one of the grounds for appeal.

FWF pleaded that despite his unconscionably long incarceration, not a single shred of evidence has been recovered from his custody during the investigation. There is no nexus between him and the multi-storey plaza building, which has been halted due to the pendency of the reference. The entire prosecution case is built on presumption, inference, and bare allegations laced with ulterior motives, he claimed.

He said his entire family is suffering and he does not even own a dwelling/residential house. He is on the verge of retirement and his family will soon be evicted from the official residence that they live in.

Before and throughout the process of his incarceration, FHF argued he cooperated with state authorities, answering every questionnaire, appearing at every court hearing, and explaining his position as sufficiently as he possibly could. There is virtually no justification as to why his continuous detention is required at such a late stage of the case.

“It has been over one year and five months to date that I have been imprisoned without even a charge. Can there be a more oppressive act on part of state authorities? There is no chance of his absconding or tampering with the prosecution’s evidence or influence the trial in any way, if released on bail, not least because all his stakes are in Pakistan. Not once has he missed a court hearing despite his failing health.”

FHF said that he has been behind the bars since his arrest without any fault of his own; nor can the delay in his trial be attributed to him. There is no conviction to his name, he stated and added that the effect of grant of bail is only the change of his custody from judicial lock up to that of the hand of sureties, and his enlargement on bail is not likely to prejudice the trial; on the other hand, his continued incarceration will certainly prejudice a fair trial.



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