In a victory for PML-N, IHC overturns Maryam and Capt Safdar’s 2018 conviction in Avenfield case


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Oct 2, 2004
Four years after their conviction, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar were acquitted in the Avenfield properties corruption reference after the Islamabad High Court overturned the July 2018 verdict on Thursday.

Speaking outside the court, the PML-N leader hailed the verdict and said that their stance stood “vindicated”.

She started her media talk while speaking on the phone to her father and paused midway to receive another from her uncle Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, both of whom congratulated Maryam on the victory.

Separately, PM Shehbaz said the “edifice of lies, slander and character assassination” had come crumbling down.

“Maryam’s acquittal in the Avenfield reference is a slap in the face of so-called accountability system that was employed to target the Sharif family. My congratulations to Maryam beti and Safdar,” he said.

While a short order is awaited, based on today’s verdict, Maryam is now eligible to contest elections.

Lawyer Mirza Moiz Baig while talking to said “a person who has been convicted of a crime involving corruption or moral turpitude is disqualified from contesting elections unless a period of five years has lapsed since their release”.

“While the Supreme Court has, in the case of Samiullah Baloch, held that a disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) continues for life, a disqualification under Article 63(1)(g) isn’t incurable,” he explained.

“Maryam Nawaz, unlike her father, was never declared to fall short of the requirements enshrined under Article 62(1)(f). To the contrary, the only bar to her contesting elections was her conviction in the Avenfield reference. With the conviction being overturned by the Islamabad High Court, Maryam Nawaz’s candidature for an election to the Parliament will no longer trigger Article 63(1)(g).”

“The judgment rendered by the high court may, thus, pave the way for Maryam Nawaz’s formal foray into electoral politics,” he concluded.

In her media talk, Maryam appeared to evade questions about her taking part in the next general elections. “Party head Nawaz and PM Shehbaz will decide when and where I will contest,” she said, adding that the party would take a decision in this regard.

Today’s hearing
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, presided over today’s hearing during which the court heard arguments from both sides.

At the outset of the hearing, Maryam’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz, NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi appeared before the court.

“At the previous hearing Usman Cheema presented the arguments but he is not feeling well today,” the bureau’s lawyer told the court. He then requested to present arguments with the bench’s permission.

During today’s hearing, Justice Kiyani remarked that the opinion of the investigating officer could not be considered as evidence. “The joint investigation team did not present any fact, it just collected information,” he observed.

For his part, Muzaffar said that Wajid Zia — former director of the Federal Investigation Agency — had overviewed the documents himself and expressed his opinion on it.

“I will show from the documents that these properties were purchased in 1999,” the NAB prosecutor said.

Justice Kayani also inquired about the other documents the prosecution had produced apart from oral statements. “What is the position of Nawaz Sharif regarding this case?” the judge asked, to which Abbasi replied that Nawaz’s position was that he had no relation to the property.

The court remarked that if Nawaz maintained that he had no link, then the prosecution had to prove it.

The court observed that Abbasi statements were contradictory, adding that the NAB prosecutor had said at the previous hearing that Maryam had no role in purchasing the properties.

“Usman [Cheema] clearly said that Maryam had nothing to do with the properties in 1993. You’re saying that Maryam’s connection was there from the beginning,” Justice Farooq remarked, adding that NAB should first make itself clear on the issue and then inform the court.

Abbasi replied that Nawaz had bought properties in London in Maryam’s name while being a public office holder.

Justice Farooq told Abbasi to prove his claims with evidence, further remarking that NAB had no case apart from the various applications filed.

“The details could have been taken if Wajid Zia knew that the properties were worth $5 million. It was not difficult at all to get the details of the properties,” the judge remarked, to which Abbasi replied that determining the value of properties was not relevant.

Justice Farooq pointed out that Abbasi was “absolutely wrong” in saying that the determination of value was irrelevant.

At one point, Justice Farooq observed that the Sharif family’s stance was that they had bought the properties in 2006. “Despite their admission, Nawaz is not related [to the case],” he remarked.

Justice Kayani also observed that on the basis of these documents, the NAB had prepared the entire case against Maryam. “In the entire case by the NAB, there is no @ of Nawaz,” Justice Farooq noted. Justice Farooq remarked that a property being in a daughter’s name did not necessarily mean that it was owned by the father. The NAB prosecutor contended that the Sharif family had not submitted any documents in its defence. At that, Justice Farooq said, “Why should they have presented any documents? It was not their job. The NAB had to prove [the case against them].” Justice Kayani added, “They should have stood silently. They should not have said anything.” “If they admit while standing in the rostrum that they owned the properties, even then the prosecution has to prove [the case against them],” Justice Farooq added. He said that NAB’s case may be valid, but it had failed to prove it. “Captain (retd) Safdar was convicted on the basis of the trust deed. Even if we consider that this is a fake document, all parties are accepting [it],” he said, adding that there was a possibility that the document was “false and prepared later”. Justice Kiyani also inquired if Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz or Captain Safdar were ever arrested in the case. “No, none of them were arrested,” the NAB prosecutor replied. Subsequently, the court reserved its verdict. The reference On July 6, a few weeks before the elections in 2018, the accountability judge of Islamabad, who was working under the supervision of an apex court judge, convicted the Sharif family in the Avenfield apartment reference. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was handed 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond known income and one year for not cooperating with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Meanwhile, Maryam was given 7 years for abetment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father” and one year for non-cooperation with the bureau. Safdar was given one year jail time — for not cooperating with NAB, and aiding and abetting Nawaz and Maryam. The Sharif family had filed appeals against its conviction before the IHC in the second week of August 2018. The court had on Sep 18 the same year suspended their sentences and released them on bail. In October last year, Maryam filed a new application, along with “extremely relevant, simple and clear-cut facts”, with the IHC seeking annulment of that verdict. In her application, Maryam stated that the entire proceedings that resulted in her conviction were a “classic example of outright violations of law and political engineering hitherto unheard of in the history of Pakistan”. She also attached a reference to the speech made by former IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui at the District Bar Association, Rawalpindi on July 21, 2018, wherein he had claimed that the country’s top intelligence agency was involved in manipulating judicial proceedings. “The ISI officials had approached the chief justice asking him to make sure Nawaz and his daughter should not be bailed before the elections,” read the petition, quoting an excerpt from ex-judge Siddiqui’s speech. DAWN;
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The edifice of lies, slander & character assassination has come crumbling down today. Maryam Nawaz's acquittal in the Avenfield Reference is a slap in the face of so-called accountability system that was employed to target Sharif family. My congratulations to Maryam Beti & Safdar</p>— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) <a href="">September 29, 2022</a></blockquote>
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The way is being paved to reinstall Nawaz Sharif as the PM. Corruption cases against against Raja Pervez, Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza and others have been dismissed.
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So will she explain why she had properties in her name or why she lied and produced faked documents

NRO 2 in action
I hate PML-N like the next guy but the courts have spoken.

People should accept it.

Whether they believe it or not is another issue.
Crooked mafia- a nexus of Nooras,PPP, Generals and the Judiciary. Ladies and Gentlemen if you were ever in doubt as to who the enemies of PK were, well today and Dars decision left no room for doubt. All can go to hell
I hate PML-N like the next guy but the courts have spoken.

People should accept it.

Whether they believe it or not is another issue.

Really? These courts are just as bent as the people they trial. Awful day for PK but Nooras told as way back in Nov last year she will get off.
Future Prime Minister and mother of a Prime Minister to be.
I hate PML-N like the next guy but the courts have spoken.

People should accept it.

Whether they believe it or not is another issue.

Why? Why should people accept the verdict of a corrupt court and the judiciary paid for by the accused themselves?
Terming it another dark day in the history of Pakistan, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday voiced dismay after Islamabad High Court (IHC) handed a clean chit to PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt (retd) Safdar, in a major upset for their political rivals.

Chaudhry’s reaction came on the heels of Asad Umar’s retort against the decision that is being slated as an upset for the PTI leadership.

“Pakistan’s institutions (courts of law) have lost people’s faith. Whether they rule against or in someone’s favour, it has no bearing on the public opinion,” Chaudhry said sharing his reaction on Twitter.

“Maryam Nawaz’s crime is billions of dollars’ worth of Avenfield palaces and her role in this crime is beyond any doubt. Anyway, it was yet another dark day in the history of Pakistan,” he said in the same Twitter post.

In his reaction, PTI Secretary-General leader Asad Umar said that cases against the "imported government" were being dismissed on a daily basis.

Umar also took to Twitter after Maryam was exonerated in a major legal victory for the PML-N and an endorsement of their party stance that cases against their top leaders were baseless.

“Inflation is increasing by the day and cases against imported government leaders are being dismissed daily. These are the main reason for which Imran Khan was removed through conspiracy,” Umar said in a tweet.

A two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard her plea against the conviction.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had accused her of abetting her father and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in committing the crime.

An accountability court had awarded 10 years of imprisonment along with an £8 million fine to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, seven years of imprisonment along with a penalty to Maryam, and one year of imprisonment to Captain Safdar in Avenfield properties reference on July 6, 2018.

How this country still exists boggles my mind. Countries like Pakistan should not even exist in their current state. Like what is the point?
Kashif Abbasi who is a neutral anchor exposed this chorni and her coward traitor fugitive chor dads lies. Others must be even more brutal on these iblees.

Even today she is lying like the bhaigairat she is.

I sometimes think Allah will ensure this family of janwars will face justice and pay for each crime and lie they committed in the next world.
PTI leadership has fired salvo at "imported government" after Maryam's acquittal, saying "corruption-tainted rulers" removed Imran Khan to end their graft cases.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership called on Thursday the acquittal of PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield Apartments’ reference as NRO2 (a deal), saying the real reason behind ex-premier Imran Khan’s ouster was to dry clean the “looters”.

“Institutions of Pakistan have lost the trust of the people, whether they give a decision in favor of someone or against, this decision has no value in the public opinion,” PTI Senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry said after the Islamabad High Court’s decision, saying Maryam’s role in the case was beyond any doubt. However, the former information minister said, “It was another dark day in the history of Pakistan.”

Fawad also said that all the “looters” were getting clean chit, saying cases were being disposed of under NRO2 – a deal – but the nation will never forgive. He questioned if the Sharif family was innocent then who looted the money.

“Most unfortunate the Avenfield judgement,” tweeted the former human rights minister Dr Shireen Mazari, who also questioned the ownership of the London apartments, as per the judgment, had it not been the Sharif family.

Mazari also questioned if Maryam’s brother was lying. “Is this handlers’ move to whitewash all corrupt politicians they brought to power?” she questioned. “Imported govt. got NRO2; Dar whitewashed; now Maryam; next NS [Nawaz Sharif]?”

PTI’s Secretary General and former Finance Minister Asad Umar said in a tweet that inflation was increasing day by day and cases of imported government leaders were being disposed of, adding, “these are the main reason for which Imran Khan was removed through conspiracy.”

Since PTI government’s removal, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and the party leadership has been building a narrative that the incumbent rulers have come to power to give themselves relief in corruption cases and were busy giving themselves NRO.

Former minister for Energy as well as Economic Affairs, Omar Ayub, said that NRO2 Part 1 was dry cleaning Rs1300b of looted money, adding, “NRO2 Part 2 is to dry clean all the looters.” In addition, Omar said, “When NAB prosecutors are confused about their role whether they are prosecutors or defence lawyers then you can expect courts to give a clean chit to the worst criminals.”

PTI Central Secretary Information Farrukh Habib said that Hussain Nawaz had said that the beneficial owner of the London palace was Maryam Safdar, saying a fake trust deed was created in Calibri font which was not invented in that year.

Habib said that they acquired NRO-2 by appointing blue-eyed NAB prosecutor, adding that Pakistan was paying the price of regime change and all the thieves were being released one after another.

Habib went on to say that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Safdar have not been able to give the money trail receipts of the London palaces till date. However, he said, they managed to get themselves acquitted of their cases, but some people were commenting that the cases were false. “Such NRO-2 would be remembered as a black day,” he said.

Ex-PM’s Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan equated Maryam’s acquittal to that of a scheme rewarding petty thieves, street criminals and pickpockets across the country, saying, “the bigger the robbery, the bigger the chair.” Awan implied that the petty criminals could become respectable minister of the ever-increasing cabinet, saying the jails department should teach the teachings of Sharif family to the criminals so that they could get NRO 2 and airplanes will be at their doorsteps.

Former Energy Minister Hammad Azhar quipped that the PML-N was also a “bit embarrassed” after today's ruling. PTI leader Khurram Sher Zaman asked: “please someone explain to me how the London properties are not Maryam's when her brother admitted they were. Does he have another sister named Maryam? I'm confused.”
Finally justice has been served. This whole corruption case against Maryam was a joke. I hope Maryam will be allowed to contest in the next General Elections she has more people power than Shehbaz.
JIT made to victimise Nawaz, Maryam to engineer 2018 polls results: Hussain Nawaz
When you do unnatural actions, the outcome is unnatural too, says Hussain Nawaz

LONDON: Former premier Nawaz Sharif’s eldest son Hussain Nawaz has said his sister Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s acquittal in the Avenfield Reference at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) is a victory of fair play and also a reminder how Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were victimised and jailed in 2018 in bogus cases to manipulate the results of elections.

Welcoming the IHC’s decision, which set aside convictions of Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar, Hussain Nawaz said in an interview here that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were never interested in finding out the real and actual answers of who bought the Avenfield flats in mid 90s because their objective was only to target, humiliate and jail Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif to engineer the political process.

Hussain Nawaz said: “When you do unnatural actions, the outcome is unnatural too. An attempt was made to link our grandfather Mian Sharif’s assets to Nawaz Sharif when it was clear that Mian Sharif was not a public office holder. These flats were acquired by Mian Sharif. If these investigations had been turned towards Mian Sharif, then all answers would be found and answered but the JIT was not interested in those answers. They were interested only in victimising Nawaz Sharif, to target him and to target his politics.”

Hussain Nawaz said that Mian Hussain started his businesses in late 30s and early 40s, before the creation of Pakistan, and set up several companies as his business empire expanded.

Hussain Nawaz said: “Mian Sharif started his businesses even before the creation of Pakistan. The Ittefaq Foundries was set up before Pakistan was made. It used to be in the Lahore city and later it was moved to Kot Lakhpat where the factory was started. Mian Sharif had around 32 companies which were registered including Ittefaq Foundries Ltd, Ittefaq Brothers Ltd, Brothers Steel Ltd, Ilyas Enterprises Ltd, Ittefaq Sugar Mills Ltd, Ramzan Sugar Mills Ltd, Chaudhary Sugar Mills Ltd. The textile business isn’t included in this list.”

Hussain Nawaz said that during the Panama case investigations, the JIT was invited to look at the whole case including the origin of the money as this could have helped the JIT to find answers “but their objective never was fair investigation or justice; their objective was revenge.”

Hussain Nawaz said his father Nawaz Sharif had famously said that he left his matters to Allah in the hope that all matters will meet their natural course of justice. “The family is thankful to Allah at the acquittal of Maryam and we have offered Shukrana Nawafil at the outcome. We have left all our matters to Allah and pray for justice.”

Hussain Nawaz said the victimisation of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz started in 2016 in the name of accountability and the whole purpose was to victimise the family. “In between we suffered the irreplaceable loss of my mother and grandmother. We will never get them back.”

Speaking about Nawaz Sharif’s cases, Hussain Nawaz said that when the IHC judges asked the NAB about Sharif’s links with the Avenfield flats, the NAB had no answer. “The court has asked the NAB how it could link the Avenfield flats and what evidence they had furnished before the court. The NAB had no answer. If this was linked with Mian Sharif, then the matter would be totally different and all answers would be found but that’s not what was desired.”

Hussain Nawaz said he hopes those who plotted against his family and targeted them would pay the price for their actions through “divine justice”. He added: “The wasted years will not come back but Inshallah divine justice will work.”

Last week, the IHC overturned the conviction of Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (R) Safdar in the Avenfield Reference by an accountability court. The court said that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against the couple.

The Panama Papers case started in 2016 when the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained around 11.5m files from the database of one of the world’s biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The papers revealed that the Sharif Family owns the four flats in the posh localities of London Mayfair and Park Lane. The Supreme Court took suo-moto notice and formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the allegations.

The JIT submitted its report to the apex court and recommended forwarding references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his children, including Maryam to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Multiple references were filed against Nawaz, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain in the NAB. The Avenfield Reference was one of them.

In July 2018, an Islamabad accountability court sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison and a fine of eight million pounds was imposed on him in a case linked to the Sharif family’s purchase of upscale London flats.

The PML-N founder’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, and Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar were accused in the case as well. Maryam was sentenced to seven years in prison and a fine of two million pounds was imposed on her. Safdar, on the other hand, was given a punishment of a year in prison.

Maryam and Safdar had challenged their convictions in the Islamabad High Court. The court on Thursday acquitted them stating that there was no evidence against them.

The News PK
So the IHC decision is saying that no one owns the flats. The corrupt judiciary needs to be scrapped because the PK people have been looted and they are abetters
Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has said that incumbent rulers are making a mockery of the justice system by closing down their corruption cases.

Addressing party officials in Peshawar on Tuesday, the deposed premier said that the government has appointed its “henchman” to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) so that they get decisions of their choice in the corruption cases, calling it a “joke”.

Imran, who was removed from premiership through a vote of no-confidence in April this year, said that he did not have personal enmity with the Sharif and Zardari family. “I am fighting for the future of the nation.”

The PTI chief asked party workers and officials to remain prepared for the upcoming much-hyped long march to Islamabad to achieve ‘real freedom’, saying that he will not rest until sending the incumbent rulers packing.

“Today is the decisive time for the nation. It’s time to stand up for the real freedom of the country,” he added.

Imran said the “cabal of crooks” got exonerated in corruption through NRO promulgated by former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

“They [coalition government] came to power on the pretext of inflation but now they have created a storm of inflation. They are making false cases against me to clear their way,” he remarked.

‘Failure of justice system’

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said that the return of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and the acquittal of PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz in Avenfield reference have exposed the "failure of the country’s justice system".

Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court, the former information minister said the accountability process has completely come to an end as “accused are legislating laws for their own benefit”.

Fawad said under the new amendments to the NAB law those who amassed ill-gotten assets through corruption cannot be asked to explain their sources of wealth as the burden on proof has been shifted to NAB.

“Efforts are being made to close down corruption cases of Nawaz Sharif,” he said while appealing the top court to take notice of the matter.

Express Tribune
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz left for London on Wednesday to meet her father and party supremo Nawaz Sharif, a day after receiving her passport upon the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

While arriving at the airport prior to her flight early morning, the PML-N leader spoke to reporters and said she was eager to finally meet her father.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz reached London on Thursday to meet her father, party supremo Nawaz Sharif, after three years, days after a court ordered to return her passport.

Maryam left from Lahore's Allama Iqbal Airport two days ago. She travelled via Qatar, where she stayed for a day and met with political figures, according to Express News.

She later left for London with her son and daughter-in-law. Maryam was received at the Heathrow Airport by her brother Hasan Nawaz.

A large crowd of party supporters had also gathered at the airport to receive the PML-N leader, where supporters of the rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had also gathered to protest Maryam's arrival. According to reports, a scuffle also broke out between the respective parties' supporters.

The PML-N leader reached the Avenfield apartment where she was welcomed by a crowd of PML-N supporters, chanting slogans in her favor. She thanked the workers for welcoming her.

Shortly after, the PML-N leader tweeted a picture of her meeting her Nawaz Sharif.

Information minister and PML-N leader Marriyum Aurangzeb also shared a picture of their reunion on Twitter, commending Maryam on her "bravery", and the "resilience" of the father-daughter duo in the face of "unjust imprisonment, slander, mental torture and the grief of losing their loved ones".

Maryam Nawaz is meeting her brothers for the first time after the passing of their mother in 2018.

The information minister questioned whether such "injustices" can ever be redressed, and commended Maryam for "not shedding a single tear in the face of hardships and cruelty".

Maryam's stay

According to family sources, Maryam will supervise Nawaz's medical treatment, hold detailed political consultations with her father and take important decisions regarding the party's future strategy.

She is scheduled to return to Pakistan in a month's time, on November 6, and is expected to be accompanied by Nawaz on her return.

Passport returned

Earlier this week, the Lahore High Court directed the deputy registrar to return Maryam’s passport, following four years of back and forth and petitions before the court.

She had surrendered her passport before the LHC in 2019 after she had been granted post-arrest bail in the Chaudhary Sugar Mills Limited (CSML) case.

The PML-N supremo Nawaz was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment in 2018 in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield properties references.

However, his sentence was suspended in 2019 by the LHC on medical grounds and he was permitted to fly to London to seek treatment, after which he went into self-imposed exile.

Shortly before being returned her passport, the PML-N leader was acquitted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), on September 29. The high court set aside her and her spouse Capt (retd) Mohammad Safdar's conviction, handed down by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference four years ago.

Express Tribune
Former judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui approached the Supreme Court to urgetnly fix his appeal against dismissal for hearing.

Siddiqui has told the court that his case was filed in 2018 and was last heard over a year ago in June 2022. He has requested the court to fix the case in the current week.

The judge has told the court that the petition concerns his fundamental rights.

Siddiqui’s appeal seeks to overturn a decision of the Supreme Judicial Council that removed him as a judge of the Islamabad High Court in 2018.

The SJC had received three different complaints about controversial remarks made by the judge in a speech to the Rawalpindi Bar.

Siddiqui had claimed that officials from the Islamabad High Court had pressured the IHC to keep Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam, behind bars while elections took place in the country.

He had also claimed that the ISI had told then IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi to refrain from including him on benches hearing Nawaz’s cases.

Siddiqui had been unable to provide proof for his claims and was removed by the SJC for ‘conduct unbecoming of a judge of a high court’.

Source: AAJ News