Tuesday, September 20, 2022

IHC directs NAB to show evidence that Nawaz Sharif acquired properties in London

"Prosecution has to establish case beyond reasonable doubt," IHC remarks, adjourning hearing till Sept 29

Image showing the exterior of the Islamabad High Courts building. — Official website
Image showing the exterior of the Islamabad High Court's building. — Official website 

  • A two-member bench heard the appeals in Avenfield case.
  • "Prosecution has to establish case beyond reasonable doubt," IHC remarks.
  • Hearing of the case has been adjourned till September 29.

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Aamir Farooq Tuesday remarked that the proceedings of the hearing on PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s appeal against the sentence in Avenfield Apartments reference “cannot move further on the basis of assumptions”.

“National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should prove through evidence that these properties were acquired by [former prime minister] Nawaz Sharif in 1990s,” he said during the hearing today.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Farooq and Judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the appeals against the conviction of Maryam and Captain (retd) Safdar.

The bench inquired about the nexus between the two offshore companies and Nawaz, through documentary evidence, urging the NAB counsel to explain how Maryam “aided and abetted” her father in acquiring properties in London in 1993 or 2006 when the trust deed was signed.

To support his arguments, NAB special prosecutor Usman Cheema read the court's decision declaring Nawaz an offender, and in response to that, Justice Farooq clarified that Nawaz’s appeal was dismissed because of his absenteeism and not on the basis of merit.

Justice Farooq also made it clear that any Supreme Court observation in the Panamagate judgment was not relevant to the decision regarding Maryam Nawaz's appeal against her conviction.

He said that the NAB has to prove whether the prosecution proved the case against Maryam before the accountability court.

"We have to see how she helped acquire these properties," Justice Farooq said, asking the NAB counsel how the apartments were acquired in 1993.

The prosecutor claimed that Maryam "aided, abetted and assisted" her father in acquiring the properties in 2006.

The judge asked: “You said that Nawaz bought the properties in 1993, then how did she assist him in 2006?”

Justice Kayani observed that Maryam has not said on any occassion that the property belonged to her, or that she owned it. "Minus the trust deed and Calibri font issue, and move on to the actual case regarding the properties acquired in 1993," he added.

He said that it was "basic criminal law" that the prosecution must establish its case using evidence even if the accused has admitted to committing the crime.

The judge inquired what evidence the prosecution had to prove the case against Nawaz. "The prosecution has to establish the case beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.

"Who made the payment to acquire the properties in 1993?" the IHC judge asked, adding that "NAB has to prove that the payment to acquire these properties came from Nawaz."

The hearing of the case has been adjourned until September 29.