Tuesday December 06, 2022

Maryam Nawaz moves IHC to nullify Avenfield Apartments verdict

IHC registrar imposes objections on Maryam's petition saying she made same appeal as to that in the main plea against verdict

By Web Desk
October 05, 2021
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Photo: AFP
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Photo: AFP

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz has filed a new petition, moving the Islamabad High Court to nullify the  Avenfield Apartments reference verdict, Geo News reported Tuesday.

Maryam has termed the verdict, "a classic example of outright violations of laws and political engineering hitherto unheard of in the history of Pakistan" in her petition filed through Advocate Irfan Qadir.

"Supreme Court supervised the entire process of the investigation of the case and monitored the prosecution," stated the petition.

Maryam maintained that "filing three separate references in the case of assets is also a violation of the law", adding that the accountability court judge would know why he didn’t notice these facts.

She contended that the apex court’s “role in the Constitution is neither that of the investigator nor that of the prosecutor”.

“NAB is bound to conduct the investigations with transparency,” maintained Maryam.

Moreover, the plea also referred to former IHC judge Shokat Aziz Siddiqi’s address to the bar.

“The judge remarked that the Chief Justice of Pakistan had been approached; We won’t let Nawaz Sharif and his daughter get released till the elections,” the petition quoted judge Siddiqi as saying in the address.

According to the plea, Siddiqi’s remarks created doubts that the verdict of the case was biased.

Maryam’s petition also stated that former accountability judge Arshad Malik's video was also proof that the cases against the Sharif family were influenced”.

It should be noted that in July 2019, Maryam had released a video and audio clip in which she had alleged that Malik was confessing that he convicted Nawaz Sharif of corruption charges under "duress".

The petition moved the IHC to take notice of the "serious violations” and nullify the Avenfield Reference verdict while acquitting all the convicts.

An accountability court had awarded 10 years of imprisonment along with an £8 million fine to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, seven years of imprisonment along with a penalty to Maryam, and one year of imprisonment to Captain Safdar in Avenfield properties reference on July 6, 2018.

Soon after the verdict was announced by the accountability court in 2018, Nawaz, Maryam, and Safdar had been released from the Adiyala Jail on September 19 over the IHC’s orders for their release, nullifying the sentences awarded to them by an accountability court in the reference.

IHC registrar imposes objections on Maryam's petition

Meanwhile, the IHC registrar imposed two objections on Maryam’s petition. The IHC registrar office maintained that Maryam made the same appeal as to that in the main petition challenging the Avenfield reference verdict.

Secondly, the petitioner can acquire fresh grounds only with the court’s permission.

The lawyers representing Maryam have been informed about the objections, and a special bench — comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani — will conduct a hearing on the petition tomorrow (October 6).

During the hearing, the IHC will hear the registrar’s objections as well.

Avenfield properties reference

The Avenfield reference pertains to the Park Lane apartments (flats 16, 16-A, 17, and 17-A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, United Kingdom), of the Sharif family and includes former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his three children, and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar as accused.

The reference was among three filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court's directives in the Panama Papers case.