The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday admitted before the Islamabad High Court that PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had no direct role in purchasing the Avenfield properties in London.
The court also told NAB to prove how Maryam was complicit in the properties bought in 1993 by signing the trust deed in 2006.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the appeals against the conviction of Maryam and her husband Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield case.
NAB Prosecutor Usman Rashid Cheema read out the court decision declaring PML-N supremo and Maryam’s father Nawaz Sharif as a proclaimed offender.
Justice Aamer Farooq pointed out that ex-PM Nawaz's appeal was not dismissed on merit, but because he did not appear before the court.
He added that if Nawaz’s appeal was not before the court, it did not mean that the charges against him had been proven correct.
The NAB prosecutor told the bench that these cases were filed on the orders of the Supreme Court.
The IHC observed that after the order of the Supreme Court, the reference was filed and the trial was conducted.
It added that NAB had to prove all the allegations independently.
The IHC judges noted that they had to see the trial proceedings.
They added that the observations made by the Supreme Court were made before the trial, which were of no use yet.
Justice Aamer Farooq asked the prosecutor to tell the court briefly what the case was about.
The NAB prosecutor replied that Maryam had helped her father in making more assets than his income.
Justice Kayani remarked that if assets were indeed created, then the court should leave the trust deed and the Calibri font and look at the case from 1993.
The NAB prosecutor responded that the anti-graft body would take up this matter from 2006 with the trust deed.
Justice Aamer Farooq pointed out that in that scenario, Maryam had no role in the case in 1993.
He added that NAB had claimed that Nawaz had bought the properties in 1993 then how Maryam could have abbetted him in 2006.
“You should first provide documents that link Nawaz Sharif with the properties,” he added.
The judge observed that if the properties were bought, then the charge of abetment would apply.
“We cannot go on assumptions, but look at the facts. Did Nawaz Sharif say anywhere that these properties belong to him?” Justice Aamer Farooq inquired.
Maryam's lawyer told the court that Nawaz had not said on any forum that the properties belonged to him.
The court directed NAB to answer four questions: Did Nawaz pay for the purchase of the Avenfield apartments? Prove the connection of the PML-N supremo with the companies as well as their link to the flats, prove the purchase of the apartments in 1993 and then prove the connection of Maryam with these properties.
The NAB prosecutor told the bench that Nawaz used to live in one of the same flats in London.
Justice Kayani remarked in Pakistan, half of the population was living in other people's houses. “You should prove Nawaz Sharif owns the property,” he noted
“Even if he [Nawaz] is living there, the prosecution still has to prove the ownership,” the judge added.
The NAB prosecutor told the bench that the anti-graft body was done for the day. The court adjourned the hearing till September 29, giving time to NAB for further arguments.
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