ISLAMABAD: The top court will hear today (Wednesday) the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) petition challenging the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) September 19 verdict to suspend former premier Nawaz Sharif and his family members’ July 6 conviction by an accountability court.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar will lead the Supreme Court bench that also includes Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel. The NAB on Tuesday told the court that the IHC gave the verdict on merits of the case without hearing its appeal or analysing the evidence.
The NAB has filed three different petitions under Article 185 against the IHC judgement and raised 30 legal grounds to justify its appeal against the IHC verdict.
The accountability watchdog contends that without giving an opportunity to NAB to submit a response, the IHC allowed Sharif family’s plea by modifying/recalling of the appellate court’s order and the previous order, in the absence of any review application.
It says the IHC division bench had not appreciated provisions of the applicable law and quantum of sentence when it granted suspension and allowed bail till final adjudication of the appeal.
According to Article 177 of Qanun-e Shahadat order, the burden of proof is on Sharif family to justify their properties. The IHC division bench has seriously prejudiced NAB’s case and its Sept 19 verdict may have adverse effect in arguing the main appeal before the IHC, it adds.
“In a failed attempt to deceive the courts as well as investigating agencies, respondent No 1 (Maryam Nawaz) had got prepared agreements for declaration of trust between herself and co-accused Hussain Nawaz with regard to Neilson and Nescoll which were sent twice to handwriting expert Robert Radley by the JIT [joint investigation team],” says the petition.
It said the IHC division bench passed certain observations with regard to a query raised by the bench relating to the price of Avenfield apartments which are contrary to facts.
“It is submitted that neither the court raised any such query during the course of arguments nor did the special prosecutor or additional prosecutor general NAB appearing on behalf of NAB responded in the manner as it has been observed by the division bench,” it added.
Interestingly, when NAB earlier approached the apex court against the IHC’s September 10 order to proceed in this matter, the top court led by CJP had rejected its petition while also imposing a fine on it. But now NAB has filed an appeal against the main judgement.
SC summons media channels
The SC on Tuesday issued a statement rejecting a news report aired by a section of the media claiming that Justice Umar Ata Bandial had recused himself to be the part of the special bench constituted for hearing of the NAB appeal.
“The news item is totally baseless, concocted and false. The factual position is that Justice Umar Ata Bandial was not feeling well hence, the CJP reconstituted the bench and the judge didn’t recuse [himself] to be the part of the special bench.
“Moreover, the CJP has taken serious notice of false news item aired by different news channels and has asked CEO/owners of the channels that aired the false news item to appear before the special bench today October 24 (today) to clarify and explain the reasons for airing fake and false news items,” it said.