PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz has requested the Lahore High Court (LHC) to dismiss the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) “frivolous and vexatious” plea to cancel her bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case while also imposing “special costs” on the top graft buster.
Maryam Nawaz, who is regarded as the de facto chief of the country’s biggest opposition party, submitted a reply to NAB’s petition filed on March 13 on behalf of the accountability watchdog’s chairman, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.
In the petition, NAB chief argued that the PML-N vice president was misusing her bail by attacking state institutions through media – leveling false accusations and engaging in anti-state propaganda.
NAB chairman had stated that Maryam had refused to appear before the NAB investigators despite summonses and asked the court to withdraw the bail granted by an LHC division bench in Nov 2019.
Rejecting NAB chairman’s claims, Maryam in her statement said she was remanded in NAB’s custody for a period of 48 days during which she was thoroughly interrogated as to her entire career including all her assets, both moveable and immovable.
“She furnished whatever information was available and concealed nothing, finally the request by NAB for further extension in her physical remand was turned down by the accountability court. The delay had been on the part of NAB,” Maryam’s written reply said.
The PML-N leader said she is a law abiding citizen; a known democrat; a true believer of the rule of law, across-the-board accountability and independence of state institutions including NAB.
“It’s a matter of record that notwithstanding reasonable belief as to use of bureau as an agency for political engineering and victimization, answering respondent [Maryam] has extended full cooperation, furnished information, submitted written replies and entered appearance as and when required.
Rejecting NAB chairman’s statement that she is not cooperating with the investigation, Maryam said she appeared before NAB office on August 11, 2020 in response to a call-up notice but she was not interrogated “despite her presence at the gate of NAB [Lahore] office”.
“Rather, state machinery and a heavy contingent of police force were used brutally and ruthlessly to intimidate and harass [Maryam] and law-abiding members of her political party… gathered just to show solidarity and concern for registration of… politically motivated cases at the instance of the government.
“Even deliberate attempts to cause serious and fatal injury to [Maryam] were also made. The unfortunate events taking place on that day were watched live by the whole nation and are now a matter of public knowledge,” she claimed.
Maryam said ironically NAB also managed to lodge an FIR “under the cover of which numerous innocent persons were arrested”.
However, the prosecution’s story, she said, could not sustain even at the stage of tentative assessment and pre-arrest bails were confirmed by the court of competent jurisdiction.
The PML-N leader added that “NAB remained silent for 14 months in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. NAB's cases and arrests are an attempt to suppress the voice. The LHC should dismiss NAB's request [to cancel bail] and impose a fine.”
On March 24, the LHC granted pre-arrest bail to Maryam – two days before her scheduled interrogation by NAB in connection with a land allotment case.
On the same day, NAB had also moved an application in the LHC, requesting the court to instruct Maryam to come to the NAB office alone. Interestingly, the graft buster postponed the hearing until further notice in view of the raging third wave of contagious coronavirus disease.
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