The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday overruled its registrar office's objections on PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s miscellaneous petition seeking annulment of the verdict in the Avenfield Apartment reference.
However, the maintainability of the application will be decided by the court at a hearing scheduled for October 13.
The PML-N leader has maintained in her plea that the country’s premier intelligence agency’s incumbent chief played a role in her conviction in the case as well as that of her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, as well as her husband, Capt (retd) Mohammad Safdar.
A division bench of the IHC led by Justice Amir Farooq heard the application.
Maryam’s counsel, Irfan Qadir, appeared before the bench and rejected the impression that the PML-N leader was against the armed forces.
“I want to clarify that our armed forces and the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] are the best in the world. Similarly, our judges are great too, except in a few political matters,” the counsel maintained, adding that they were not against individuals "but certain mindsets that silence democracy in Pakistan".
Qadir stated that they moved the application to bring forth certain facts that happened after the conviction in the Avenfield case.
The bench noted that the registrar's office had raised two objections that are being overruled.
According to the registrar, Maryam had made the same plea in her application as she did in her primary appeal challenging her conviction in the Avenfield case.
The office further said Maryam could adopt fresh grounds in the appeal only with the court's permission.
A day earlier, Maryam had filed a separate petition in the high court against the verdict given by an accountability court in the Avenfiled Apartments case.
Maryam, through her counsel urged the high court to declare the accountability court's decision in the Avenfield Apartments case void over "serious violations". Maryam and Nawaz Sharif were convicted in the case on July 6, 2017, by Accountability Court Judge
Muhammad Bashir, who sentenced them to seven and 10 years in jail, respectively. The IHC later suspended their sentences.
In her plea, Maryam also alluded to a speech made by former judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui during a bar address. In the speech, Siddiqui had alleged that the SC was being controlled from “the outside” while hearing the Avenfield case. He was subsequently sacked over misconduct.
Later, talking to the media Maryam questioned the "silence" of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Supreme Court on the Pandora Papers leaks.
In reference to the action taken against the Sharif family in the aftermath of the Panama Papers, she asked where was the "Panama bench, the JIT [Joint Investigation Team] and NAB" in the wake of the Pandora Papers exposé.
She asked where the petitioner was who took the Panama case to the court. "The entire nation is looking for that petitioner and the Panama JIT," she said, adding that "former chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa told Imran Khan to bring the Panama case to him as the decision had already been made".
According to Maryam, "A retired army officer quizzed her when she appeared before the Panama JIT in 2018 while all officers of NAB and other agencies stayed silent."
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Imran over the formation of a commission to probe Pandora Papers, she said the prime minister has "refused to reveal the details of toshakhana (state treasury) but has agreed to form a commission to investigate his ATMs named in the Pandora Papers".
She said: "PM Imran used to claim that Nawaz Sharif played with the help of 'umpire', but Imran Khan himself took help from the 'umpire' to overthrow an elected government."
The PML-N leader further added that, "I am still waiting for Justice Khosa to come to me and say he will take up the Pandora Papers case." "Where is the Panama bench today, and NAB that filed cases against Nawaz and me," she said, further questioning "why the anti-corruption spirit is not visible today".
Speaking about the sentence in the Avenfield case, Maryam said her case was "politically engineered" as the incumbent chief of the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan "made sure that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and I remained in jail till the 2018 elections".
"Had we gotten bail before the elections, their entire work of two years would have gone to waste," she quipped. According to Maryam, "The case against Sharifs was completely baseless as it was made and tried by the incumbent intelligence chief."
In a comment on media reports that Maryam Nawaz “maligned” the state institutions, she said, "The state institutions of Pakistan should be above any type of controversy and suspicions."
"An individual's obedience for personal gains should not be termed as an institution," the PML-N leader said, adding, "Institutions belong to the nation, not a single individual. When an individual tries to hide behind his institution that means he has no answers for transgressing his authority."
Maryam said she was not only talking about herself, but the judiciary as well, whose reputation was being "tarnished". She alleged former chief justice Saqib Nisar of violating the sanctity of judiciary and giving verdicts under duress.
"Does the judiciary want to take decisions under duress?" she asked. "The judges of the Supreme Court had also expressed concerns in a meeting over the growing impression that the judges are under pressure," she claimed.
Maryam Nawaz also termed the extension in the tenure of NAB chief "unconstitutional and illegal". The PML-N leader said NAB Chairperson Javed Iqbal was "given the extension as a result of a deal".
The PML-N VP also claimed that the NAB chief was given the extension in return for action against the rivals of Prime Minister Imran. She added that this extension will be rejected by the courts.
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