LAHORE: PMLN Central Vice-President Maryam Nawaz on Monday confirmed that she had received her passport after being “confiscated” for more than three years.
She got her passport back from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), following the directions of the Lahore High Court (LHC). The court had directed the NAB to return the passport to Maryam.
Maryam tweeted that she had received her passport after three years in a case that “was never filed” against her. She said on social media that Prime Minister Imran Khan was “fitna”. Out of fear, Imran Khan kept her in the NAB custody for three months and in a death cell in the Kot Lakhpat Jail for “investigation”, but the case had not been filed till date.
The LHC orders had come from a three-member bench headed by LHC Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti and comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh. The bench was hearing a plea of Maryam, seeking the return of her passport which she had surrendered before the LHC deputy registrar (Judicial) after she had been granted post-arrest bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills Limited (CSML) case.
As the court proceedings commenced on Monday, the CJ asked whether or not Maryam had submitted any application for seeking the return of her passport. Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez said the previous plea had become infructuous in presence of the current application. “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 courts used to dispose of cases over prolonged delay without looking at merit.
Responding to a query, the deputy attorney general told the court that the federal government had no objection to returning the passport. The NAB 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 the NAB law.
The LHC chief justice asked whether there was any order on the application. Pervez argued that an application which they had filed seeking return of the passport on the ground of offering Umrah had been withdrawn, however, the application that had been filed seeking permission to go abroad to look after her father who was sick earlier was still pending.
The bench accepted the request of Maryam’s counsel to continue arguments on the fresh application on the ground that he will withdraw the already pending application.
Pervez said Maryam had been in the NAB custody, but the accountability body could neither establish guilt nor finish the investigation in the reference which was filed four years ago. He implored that his client had also deposited Rs 70 million and surrendered her passport, but any reference was not filed, adding that she was not being allowed to move freely either.