ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday has suspended sentences of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar in Avenfield reference.
Justice Athar Minallah, while announcing the verdict, directed to release ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar over surety bonds worth Rs0.5 million each until final decision on their pleas.
During the hearing, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor said that no evidence regarding transfer of 12 million dirham has been found while the agreement of selling 25 percent shares of Gulf Steel Mills was also fake.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have also not verified the transfer of the money, he added.
Responding to the question, NAB prosecutor said the accused adopted the stance in Supreme Court (SC) that they bought London flats by selling Gulf Steel Mills.
He said Maryam Nawaz had told the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that she is her father’s dependent.
Earlier, the bench inquired why Maryam Nawaz had been convicted under Section-9A of the NAB’s ordinance if assets were owned by Nawaz Sharif. The bench further asked how two individuals can be convicted on assets owned by a single person.
“How Nawaz Sharif can own property when the ownership of the same rests with his children? Does court announce verdict merely on basis of this myth?”, remarked Justice Athar Minallah.
NAB’s prosecutor argued law turns onus of proof on accused after ownership of flats [by Sharifs] has been established. He said, “The agreement of money transfer turned out to be fake. Likewise, the deed declaring Maryam Nawaz trustee was also proved fake. She possesses assets beyond her declared source of income”.
NAB prosecutor further added Sharifs had not registered ‘Calibri font’ trust deed in UK. He said, “Maryam Nawaz crafted this trust deed and declared his brother beneficial owner”.
Convicted and sentenced
It is to be mentioned here that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar were convicted and sentenced to prison in absentia for ten years, seven years and one year respectively, in Avenfield verdict.
Maryam Nawaz and Captain (r) Safdar, who were candidates for the general elections 2018, were also disqualified from contesting elections for 10 years each.
The sentence and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $10.6 million, came almost a year after Supreme Court removed Sharif from office and less than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life.
Nawaz Sharif was convicted under section 9(a)(5) of the NAB ordinance.
The case stemmed from the Panama Papers leak that disclosed expensive and undeclared property owned by the Sharif family in London.
Arrested and shifted to Adiala Jail
Safdar was arrested by the NAB authorities in Rawalpindi on July 9 while Nawaz Sharif and Maryam weretaken into custody by the officials few minutes after their flight landed at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport on Friday night and shifted to Adiala Jail.
Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir, who was present at the jail primises, issued warrants for imprisonment for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. A team of doctors conducted the medical checkup of both the accused and declared them fit.
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were then shifted to B-Class facility in Adiala Jail.