ISLAMABAD  -  The counsels for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz Wednesday concluded their arguments before a division bench of the Islamabad High Court hearing appeals of the Sharif family seeking suspension of their sentence.

The dual bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb conducted hearing of the appeals filed by former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (Retd) Safdar against their sentences in Avenfiled reference and deferred the hearing till Thursday (today) for further proceedings.

Now, deputy prosecutor of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) will present his counter arguments on the next hearing.

At the start, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi sought time from the court to provide para-wise comments in line with the request of Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Harris.

The prosecutor also requested for the hearing to be adjourned for two days so he could submit a reply since he had not received the copy of the court order on time.

However, Justice Athar observed that hearing could not be deferred on these grounds and turned down Abbasi’s plea saying that NAB is a serious institution and it should not file such applications. Following this, Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris presented his arguments before the court.

Khawaja argued that the investigation officer had accepted that he had no option but to file the reference. He added that they did not appear before the NAB since it had been already decided to file the reference.

During the hearing, Justice Athar asked from Harris, “According to you, no documents were provided to prove linkage of property with Nawaz Sharif”. He also asked that what the decision of NAB court was about the chart presented by NAB regarding known sources of income.

Justice Athar remarked that it is an accepted fact that price of the properties was not determined. At this Sardar Muzaffar said that the sources of income told by them are not correct. Justice Athar said that you should keep in mind that it is not the case of money laundering.

The bench while addressing the NAB prosecutor said that keep it in mind that it is not a case as a common man thinks that if properties are accepted then they would have to answer for it. He added that it is not the law.

Then, Amjad Pervez Advocate started his arguments in this matter. Justice Athar asked from him that on which basis, the trial court declared trust deed as bogus. Amjad replied that it was declared as fake on the basis of Robert’s report.

Justice Miangul Hassan asked that who was the settler of this deed? The counsel replied that it was never executed and it was a private issue. The bench further asked that according to NAB, Maryam herself admitted that she was beneficial owner. Amjad said that it was a matter between brother and sister.

Justice Miangul Hassan asked that on which date, Qatari Prince said that now, you are owner of the flats. The counsel said that it was the date of December 2005.

After conclusion of the arguments of Sharif family, the court adjourned hearing till Thursday.

Earlier, Justice Athar remarked that the registrar’s office has informed that incorrect statements were being attributed to judges after the hearing on August 13. He said that it is very deplorable that fake news are being circulated on social media. He said that all this was done with a comprehensive planning.

He said that they have taken serious notice of this and they are also forwarding the matter to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

He added that if judgments are given on one’s wishes then there will be no justice. He further said: “We value the media but those who are indulging in this are involved in contempt of court”.  

The judge remarked that for a fair trial, it is essential to have trust in the legal system and if trials start taking place outside courts then that is contempt of court. “We have no pressure from anyone and have to pass judgments based on law no matter who is the convict,” he maintained.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Capt (Retd) Muhammad Safdar filed the appeals in the IHC challenging the Accountability Court (AC)’s verdict in the Avenfield property reference and made the state through Chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as respondent. 

In the appeals, it was stated that Nawaz Sharif was convicted under Section 9 (a)(v) of NAO, 1999, and Serial No.2 of the Schedule to the NAO, 1999, and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term of ten years, and to fine of 8 Million pounds under Section 10 of the NAO, 1999 for the offence under Section 9 (a)(v) of the NAO, and to one year imprisonment for the offence at Serial No.2 of the Schedule of the NAO, 1999, with stipulation that both the sentences shall run concurrently.

The appeals added that Maryam Safdar was convicted under Section 9 (a)(v) and (xii) of the NAO, 1999 and for the offence at Serial No.2 of the Schedule to the NAO, 1999, and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven years with fine of 2 Million pounds under Section 10 of the NAO, 1999 for the offence under Section 9 (a)(v) and (xii) ibid, and to one year simple imprisonment for offence at Serial No.2 of the Schedule to the NAO, 1999, with stipulation that both sentences shall run concurrently.

Similarly, Capt (Retd.) Muhammad Safdar was convicted for offences under Section 9 (a)(v) (xii) read with Section 10 of the NAO, 1999, and for the offence at Serial No.2 of the Schedule of NAO, 1999, and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year under Section p (a)(v)(xii) read with Section10 of the NAO, 1999, and to one year under Serial No.2 of the Schedule attached with NAO, 1999.

They were of the view that the impugned judgment, conviction and sentence are based on no evidence.

Therefore, it was prayed that this court may be pleased to set-aside the impugned judgment, conviction and sentence dated awarded to the appellants by the accountability court Islamabad and they may be acquitted of all the charges framed against them in the reference.

 

 

SHAHID RAO