LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) full bench on Monday ordered to return the passport of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz which she had surrendered to the court to get bail in a case related to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills.
At the last hearing on September 28, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had told the LHC it did not require Maryam Nawaz’s passport.
A three-member bench of the LHC, headed by Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh heard the case.
During the proceedings, Maryam's counsel Amjad Parvez apprised the court that his client had been granted bail after she surrendered her passport in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills money laundering case but that despite the passage of a span of four years, no reference had been filed against her.
“Restricting someone’s movement is also an issue of fundamental rights,” he argued.
“Prolonged delay is tantamount to misuse of law,” the lawyer said, adding that the courts used to dispose off the cases over prologue delay without looking at the merit.
Responding to a query, the deputy attorney-general told the court that the federal government had no objection to returning the passport.
NAB’s prosecutor apprised the court that they did not know whether the case came under the jurisdiction of the anti-graft watchdog or not after the new amendments to NAB’s law.
Meanwhile, the LHC approved Maryam Nawaz’s plea and ordered to hand back her passport.
Shortly after the LHC order, Maryam took to her Twitter to confirm that her passport had been returned to her.
After winning a legal battle that went on for years, the PML-N vice president lamented that her passport was confiscated for three years in a case which was never filed.
Lashing out at the Imran Khan-led former government, the PML-N leader said that ‘fitna’, in fear of her public meetings, kept her in NAB’s illegal confinement for three months for “investigations”.
She maintained that she was kept in a death cell at Kot Lakhpat Jail but no case was filed against her.
In another tweet, Maryam said that “fitna” politics based on cruelty and revenge had end one day because it is the principle of nature.
“But this foreign agent has not stopped lying and forgery even today," Maryam said, adding that retribution and a terrible end are chasing him.
PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz had approached the LHC seeking the return of her passport. She had surrendered it after she had been granted post-arrest bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills money laundering case.
She had moved the court in April seeking return of her passport. However, she had withdrawn it after no less than four benches were formed to hear her petition due to judges recusing themselves from the case.
Maryam, through her counsel Amjad Pervez, moved the fresh petition, arguing that in 2019, NAB had forced her to surrender her passport in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, fearing that she would flee the country.
The counsel argued that her client was granted bail after she surrendered her passport. Though four years had passed, no reference had been filed in the case. The counsel said the retention of the passport for an indefinite period was tantamount to violation of fundamental rights.
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