Wednesday May 19 2021

IHC rejects pleas challenging auctioning of Nawaz Sharif's properties

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Photo: File

  • IHC was approached by three petitioners against auctioning of Nawaz Sharif's properties.
  • Court directs petitioners to approach relevant forum.
  • IHC rejects pleas under Article 199 of the Constitution.

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday rejected three petitions submitted for hearing against the auctioning of properties of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Petitions against the auction had been filed by Mian Iqbal Barkat, Muhammad Ashraf and Aslam Aziz.

A two member bench, headed by Justice Aamer Farooq, rejected the petitions and termed them as unmaintainable under Article 199 of the Constitution.

Read more: Accountability court orders seizure of Nawaz Sharif's property in Toshakhana case  

“The Islamabad High Court cannot hear these petitions under Article 199 of the Constitution as there is an alternative forum already present,” said the bench.

The petitioners were asked to approach the alternate forum available — the accountability court in this case — if they seek to stop the auctioning of properties.

Petitions filed against auctioning of Nawaz Sharif's assets

A day earlier, three petitions against an accountability court decision in the Toshakhana corruption reference to confiscate the property of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif were filed in the Islamabad High Court. 

The petitioners' pleas had named the Accountability Court Islamabad, the deputy commissioners of Lahore and Sheikhupura, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and others as respondents. 

Iqbal Barkat adopted the stance that House No 135, Upper Mall, Lahore, belongs to Ittefaq Group, which is jointly owned by Mian Muhammad Sharif, Mian Muhammad Shafi, Mian Mirajuddin, Mian Barkat Ali, Mian Abdul Aziz and Mian Idrees Bashir.

Read more: Lahore court stops Punjab govt from cancelling transfer of Raiwind land belonging to Sharifs

Muhammad Ashraf, in his plea, stated that the Sheikhupura administration had fixed May 20 for auction of the confiscated property of Nawaz Sharif. He claimed that he had already purchased 88 kanals from Nawaz Sharif against Rs75 million. However, the deed could not be implemented due to the arrest of the former prime minister. He said he had approached a civil court in that regard.

Aslam Aziz, in his petition, said the district administration is auctioning 105 kanals, on which he had invested heavy amount for an agriculture project. The amount invested would be wasted if the land is auctioned.

Nawaz Sharif's properties, assets to be put up for auction

Last month, an accountability court accepted a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi for the auction of assets owned by Nawaz.

NAB's decision to auction the PML-N supreme leader's assets comes after he was declared a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana reference.

After the accountability court's approval, the concerned provincial governments will be able to auction Nawaz Sharif's properties wherever they are located.

The court has ordered the Deputy Commissioner Lahore and Sheikhupura to submit a report on the matter within 60 days.

The properties should be auctioned and the money should be deposited in the national treasury, the court said.

Read more: NAB decides to auction seized properties of former PM Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz's vehicles should also be auctioned within 30 days, the court further ordered. The vehicles will be seized and sold with the help of the police, the court said.

The court also ordered the seizure of any funds in Nawaz's bank accounts and their deposit in the public exchequer.

Meanwhile, the chairman, Securties and Exchange Commission of Pakstan has been directed to sell shares owned by Nawaz in four companies. Proceeds from the sale should be deposited in the national treasury, the court said.

An accountability court had ordered the attachment of the properties in question on January 1 last year.

Read more: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's passport to expire today

The former PM, however, had not surrendered to the court even months after the order of attachment.

NAB argued that Nawaz willfully did not surrender despite being a proclaimed offender and so the attached properties are required to be sold out as per the prescribed procedure.

Nawaz Sharif's assets

According to a NAB report, Sharif has shares in four companies: 467,950 shares in Mohammad Bukhsh Textile Mills, 343,425 shares in Hudaibiya Paper Mills Ltd, 22,213 shares in Hudaibiya Engineering Co (Pvt) Ltd and 48,806 shares in Ittefaq Textile Mills Ltd.

He also has eight accounts in private banks, including three foreign currency accounts. NAB said Nawaz had over Rs600,000 in five accounts and 566 euros, $698, and GBP498 in foreign currency accounts.

Nawaz also has nine properties to his name in Lahore, Sheikhupura, Murree and Abbottabad. These include 135 Upper Mall Lahore; 936 kanals, 10 marla and 85 feet of agricultural land in Mauza Manak Lahore; a 12-acre guava orchid; 299 kanals and 12 marla of agricultural land in Mauza Baokisani; 103 kanals and 6 marla of agricultural land in Mauza Mall, Raiwind; 312 kanals and 14 marla of agricultural land in Mauza Sultankay, Lahore; 14 kanals and 5 marla of agricultural land in Mauza Manddiali, Ferozabad; 65 kanals and 4 marla of agricultural land in Mauza Ferozwattan, Sheikhpura; Bungalow 24-A & B and B-3, Hall Road, Murree; and a house measuring 15 kanals and 15 marla in Changla Gali, Abbottabad.

The former PM also has a Toyota Land Cruiser model 2010 (LEB 10-1957), a Mercedes model 1973 (LHD-280), a Mercedes Benz model 1991 (IDH-78), a tractor model 2011 (LES 11-778) and a tractor model 2015 (LES-15-6024).