An Islamabad accountability court dismissed on Friday NAB’s petition against PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz submitting a fake trust deed in the Avenfield case. The court declared it to be not fit for trial.
The court had issued summons for Maryam on July 9 after NAB moved an application before accountability judge Mohammad Bashir.
Judge Bashir said that the petition was not maintainable on the basis of the fact that Maryam already has an appeal pending against the Avenfield properties verdict filed in the Islamabad High Court.
Maryam’s lawyer Amjad Pervez argued that NAB could have filed an appeal against the verdict within 30 days but instead chose to file an appeal almost a year after it was announced. He reminded the court that an appeal against the seven-year sentence the court handed Maryam was being heard at the Islamabad High Court, therefore the court could not proceed with NAB’s appeal.
However, NAB’s prosecutor, Sardfar Muzzafar Abbasi argued that in its verdict, the accountability court had said that it would conduct a separate investigation into Maryam’s documents. The court didn’t need NAB to file an appeal, it should have done so itself, he argued. He also said that Maryam never challenged that clause in the verdict, therefore the 30-day limit was not applicable.
However, Judge Muhammad Bashir ruled in Maryam’s favour.
Maryam appeared before the court on a petition filed by NAB against her for presenting a fake trust deed during the Avenfield reference.
Security was on high alert in the capital and no one unrelated to the case was allowed to enter the court. Roads around the Federal Judicial Complex were sealed for traffic.
NAB argued that by presenting the fake documents, she deceived the court. She was sentenced to a seven years in jail in the Avenfield case but NAB says she wasn’t sentenced for presenting fake documents, which is why it has now filed a separate request. Her sentence was suspended while she challenges it in court.
She left Lahore Friday morning along with Marriyum Aurangzeb and Hina Pervez Butt. Before she left Jati Umra her car was showered with rose petals. Workers cheered as her caravan departed.
Ahead of her court appearance, Maryam took a jab at the government on Twitter. “You can arrest the whole of the PML-N but you still won’t be able to run the country. You will have to answer to the nation for your incompetence and failures,” she wrote.
Several high-profile arrests of PML-N leaders have been made in the past year, starting with the most high-profile of all of Nawaz and Maryam on July 13, 2018. Their sentences were later suspended but Nawaz was arrested once again December. Maryam’s husband Captain Safdar was arrested on July 8 but his sentence was later suspended as well.
PML-N leader Qamar Ul Islam was arrested on Jun 26, 2018 and Hanif Abbasi on July 22, 2018. Shehbaz Sharif was arrested on October 5, 2018, Hafiz Mian Muhammad Nauman on November 28, 2018 and Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Khawaja Salman Rafique on December 11, 2018.
In 2019, Hamza Shahbaz was arrested on June 11, Waleed Butt on June 18, Rana Sanaullah on July 2 and most recently, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on July 18.