LHC seeks Maryam's response on NAB's bail cancellation plea

Court seeks PML-N vice president's reply by April 7 in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case


Rana Yasif March 15, 2021
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz talking to media persons in Lahore on March 15, 2021. SCREENGRAB

LAHORE:

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday sought Maryam Nawaz' response on the National Accountability Bureau's plea requesting to cancel her bail over 'misusing the bail and tarnishing the image of state institutions.'

On Saturday, the anti-graft authority moved LHC seeking the cancellation of bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

In the petition filed by the NAB chairman, it was argued that the PML-N vice president was misusing her bail by attacking state institutions through media, making false accusations and engaging in anti-state propaganda, while refusing to appear before the bureau despite summons.

As the proceedings began today, a division bench headed by Justice Sardar Sarfraz Dogar inquired the bureau as to why it sat idle after the registration of an FIR against Maryam and PML-N lawmakers for allegedly attacking NAB's Lahore region office.

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In its response, NAB argued that there were political activities in the country such as Senate elections, saying they avoided summoning her as the PML-N would use it to take advantage amongst the public.

NAB prosecutor Syed Faisal Raza Bukhari claimed that they summoned Maryam but she didn't bother to appear before the bureau.

Following NAB’s notice, he added, at one stage, she appeared at the office but got attacked with stones by her own workers. Later, an FIR was registered against her and other lawmakers, he maintained.

Justice Dogar observed that Maryam had already been in NAB’s remand, so why did the bureau decide to summon her again.

Bukhari responded saying that the bail did not mean that the PML-N leader had been acquitted, adding she had to appear whenever summoned.

Justice Dogar inquired as to who was authorised to argue in the case, observing that it was the deputy prosecutor general Chaudhary Khaleeq-uz-Zaman.

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Bukhari replied that he had been appearing in similar matters and that he was authorised to argue in this case. However, the bench directed the deputy prosecutor to argue in the case.

As the deputy prosecutor took the rostrum, the judge asked him as to under what grounds did NAB seek the bail’s cancellation.

Zaman replied that Maryam had been misusing the concession and attacking institutions, launching anti-state propaganda, and supporting the nefarious designs of Pakistan’s enemies. He prayed to the court to cancel the post-arrest bail.

Earlier, as the proceedings commenced, the bench ordered media persons to leave the room owing to Covid-19. The lawyers, however, remained present in the courtroom.

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