ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is expected to file a supplementary reference against Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar in connection with the Avenfield Apartments case.
The details emerged on Monday when the Islamabad High Court (IHC) allowed the NAB to withdraw a petition through which it challenged alteration to the extent of ‘Calibri font’ from the charge-sheet of the Avenfield Apartments’ reference, currently being heard by an accountability court in Islamabad.
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NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi informed the court that the NAB might be allowed to withdraw petition on grounds that it was preparing to file a supplementary reference against Maryam and Safdar before the court concerned. Subsequently, the IHC’s division bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, accepted the NAB request.
On November 8, the accountability court accepted the application from Maryam and Safdar for the alteration in the charge-sheet to the extent of the Calibri font issue.
Maryam had requested the court to alter the charge framed in the Avenfield Apartments reference to the extent of the Calibri font issue. The couple through their counsel Amjad Pervaiz had prayed that the charge might be altered and segment of charge with the offence cited at serial 3(a) of schedule of National Accountability Bureau Ordinance (NAO), 1999 be deleted.
The accountability judge had later held that the Calibri issue could be taken up after pronouncing the final judgment, and that too if the court found any forged document during trial.
The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court to probe the Panamagate scandal had stated that Maryam had provided trust deeds of two companies stating them to be the ‘originals’ but were in reality good-quality photocopies of the originals.
The JIT had concluded that a forensic examiner had revealed that the type font used to produce the documents was Calibri. “However, Calibri was not commercially available before 31st January 2007 and as such, neither of the originals of the certified Declarations is correctly dated and happy [happen] to have been created at some later point in time,” the JIT report had quoted a forensic expert as saying.
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After the accountability court’s Nov 8 order, the NAB requested the IHC to set aside the order and made the judge, Maryam and Safdar respondent in its petition.
In the petition, the NAB said that in compliance of the Supreme Court order of July 28, 2017, corruption references against the Sharif family were filed for acquiring expensive properties in London through offshore companies Nielson and Nescol Enterprises.
The NAB maintained that the order was passed in an arbitrary manner and faulty interpretation of the applicable laws. It argued that section 30 of NAO should be interpreted as permissive and empowering provision, and not prohibitory.
In its appeal, the bureau said Section 30 is devoid of negative language and clearly confers additional powers upon a court to take cognisance of the offences. It added that the order was based upon unjustifiable reasoning.
The NAB prayed that the court set aside accountability court’s order of November 8, and Maryam and Safdar be charged with serial 3(a) of the schedule of NAO.
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