ISLAMABAD - Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her husband Captain (Retd) Safdar Wednesday moved the Islamabad High Court challenging the Accountability Court’s decision of granting permission for examination of a witness through a video link in a corruption reference against them.

Both Maryam and Safdar moved the court through their counsel Amjad Pervez and cited Chairman National Accountability Bureau, judge AC No 1 Islamabad and the state as respondents.

The petitioners stated in their petition that they are accused in a reference filed by the NAB against them and the AC announced a verdict on February 2 allowing the prosecution examination of its witnesses namely Robert W Redly and Akhtar Raja through video link.

They adopted that the impugned order is contrary to law and facts.  “In a criminal trial, the attendance of a witness before the court is necessary unless the same is dispensed with subject to the conditions mentioned in Section 503 of Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C),” the petitioners argued.

They said that in the instant case, the reasons stated as an excuse or inability to attend the court, are imaginary and not supported by any material.

The petitioners argued that as per the mandate of Section 503 CrPC even upon dispensation of attendance of a witness, he does not stand liberated from the rule of law as even in that case, he is made subject to the jurisdiction of some court of law or authority.

They continued that although, the trial court has found the option of commission to be available, yet it has proceeded to allow the examination through video link without any legal justification.

They were of the view that the examination of witnesses at a faraway place beyond the access of the accused or his representative also offends against the valuable right of examination of witnesses in presence of the accused and the same in any case cannot stand the test of fair trial by any stretch of imagination.

Therefore, they prayed to the court to declare AC’s order dated February 2 as illegal, without lawful authority and the same be set aside.

They further requested that in the alternative, the said order may be kindly modified with the direction for adequate representation of the petitioners during the examination of the witnesses at High Commission of Pakistan in London in the interest of justice.