ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau has approached the Supreme Court seeking custody of Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, the son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The anti-graft watchdog has moved an appeal to the top court challenging the Islamabad High Court (IHC)’s decision wherein it had maintained the accountability court’s order pertaining to the release of Capt (retd) Safdar on bail following his arrest in October last year.

On 19 February, an IHC divisional bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had dismissed the NAB’s plea seeking to set aside the accountability court order.

The NAB appeal said that the accountability court could not release the accused, Capt (retd) Safdar, who is arrested in execution of the arrest warrants issued by the court.

“The accountability court cannot release an arrested accused, when it has no powers to grant bail to any accused as provided by section 9(b) of NAO, 1999,” it said.

It further contended that “the accountability court wrongly extended benefit to the accused by misapplying the law and remained failed to make a distinction between a complaint case and a challan case”.

“The accountability court’s order is without jurisdiction and it has no powers or jurisdiction to release any accused person by taking sureties once the arrest has been made,” the application said.

“The court has gone beyond its jurisdiction while releasing the accused on bail,” it contended.

“The accused (Safdar) did not appear before the court on various dates of hearing, avoided the process of law and tried to hamper the trial proceedings which is to be concluded within a period of 6 months as directed by the top court,” the NAB appeal said.

It said that the order of the accountability court was perverse, capricious and against the record of the case hence not maintainable in the eyes of law.

“The NAB has left with no other adequate and efficacious remedy except to invoke the constitutional jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for cancellation of bail granted to the accused person,” the appeal said.

“Sufficient incriminating material is available on record which connects the accused with the commission of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices,” it further contended.

The NAB has prayed to the top court to set aside the orders of IHC and the accountability court and allow it to take the accused into custody.

The NAB on the basis of the Supreme Court’s Panama Papers judgment had filed references against the Sharif family including Cap (retd) Safdar as being co-accused in corruption cases.

In September last year, the accountability court issued the summons for Safdar to appear before the court but he failed. Afterwards, the accountability court first issued his bailable warrants and then non-bailable warrants.  

Subsequently, the accused was arrested by the NAB in October last year from Islamabad airport in the execution of the non-bailable warrants of arrest issued by the accountability court.

Afterwards, he was produced before the court in NAB's custody and the accountability court issued his release orders against a surety bond of Rs5 million and another surety in the like amount. The accused was released after submitting the bail bonds.