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National

January 11, 2018

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IHC moved against deletion of forgery charges against Maryam, Safdar

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) here on Wednesday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the November 8 order of an accountability court that had deleted the charge of producing forged document, from the charge sheets of Maryam Nawaz and Captain (R) Safdar.

Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield apartments corruption reference has been facing the charge of producing an alleged forged trust deed before the Supreme Court of Pakistan that was scripted in Calibri font and as per the joint investigation team (JIT) report Calibri font was not in the market in 2006 at the time when trust deed was prepared, and hence it was forged. As per allegations, the trust deed related to Avenfield London apartments was also signed by Captain Safdar as witness.

On November 8, AC had deleted this charge from the charge sheets of Maryam Nawaz and Captain (R) Safdar conceding to the arguments of Maryam's counsel Amjad Pervez who had argued that section 30 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) prohibits the court from taking cognizance of the offences relating to false evidence etc before making decision of the case. Petitioner NAB in its petition has cited judge accountability court (AC) no 1, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar as respondents. Petitioner adopted that the petition has been filed under the directions of Chairman NAB Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.

NAB in its petition said that in compliance to the Supreme Court orders dated July 28, 2017, it has filed corruption reference against Sharif family for acquiring expensive properties in London through off-shore companies Nielson and Nescol Enterprises. It said on October 19, 2017 accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir framed charges against the accused Mian Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (R) Safdar under National Accountability Ordinance (NAO)'s schedule at serial 3(a) to which the accused pleaded non-guilty.

On November 8, 2017 AC judge at the application of Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar, deleted the charge framed under serial number 3(a) of the schedule of NAO and recorded fresh plea of the accused.

According to NAB, said order was passed by AC in an arbitrary manner and faulty interpretation of the applicable laws. NAB in its petition has argued that section 30 should be interpreted as permissive and empowering provision, and not that prohibitory. NAB in its appeal said that the section 30 is devoid of negative language and clearly confers additional powers upon a court to take cognizance of the offences of the aforementioned nature.

Petitioner contended that the order was based upon unjustifiable reasoning. Furthermore, section 30 of NAO and serial number 3(a) of its schedule are two separate sections meant entirely for two different situations and cannot be invoked as alternatives to each other. A trial court is bound to frame charges against an accused under section 3(a) in case of false evidence whereas section 30 is only a discretionary power lied with the court, NAB said.

Petitioner has prayed to the court to set aside AC order dated November 8. Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar may be charged with serial 3(a) of the schedule of NAO, petitioner also prayed.

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