Maryam Nawaz, Yousuf Abbas sent to jail on 14-day judicial remand by Lahore court

Updated September 25, 2019

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PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz at an accountability court in Lahore on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz at an accountability court in Lahore on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

An accountability court in Lahore on Wednesday rejected the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) request for an extension in the physical remand of PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and her cousin Yousuf Abbas and ordered that the duo be sent on judicial remand for 14 days.

During the court proceedings, heard by judge Ameer Muhammad Khan, NAB prosecutors Hafiz Asadullah Awan and Haris Qureshi presented their arguments. They said further investigation of the two was required in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.

On August 8, Maryam and her cousin had been arrested by NAB in the CSM case. Since then, their physical remand has been repeatedly extended.

During today's proceedings, the NAB prosecutor said that during the investigation of the two they had found out about an agreement for the division of the family's assets.

He said shares valued at Rs14.558 million were divided between former premier Nawaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, Abbas Sharif, Kausar and Shamim Begum.

During the investigation, a difference of shares worth Rs11.61m was identified.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) record for 2008, shares valued at Rs26.2 million belonged to the CSM, the prosecutor said, adding that the shares were not included in the Sharif family's assets.

Additionally, investigation officer Usman Ifthikar said that in 2008, Maryam's assets were not compatible with her income and in order to investigate assets and income they had summoned members of the Sharif family.

The NAB prosecutor said that in 1998, Maryam received revenue from Sadiqa Syed Mahmood via telegraph transfer and later transferred this income to CSM.

In 1999, he said, the suspect had received Rs160 million but there was no evident link between her and the woman who sent it. He added that the woman (Mahmood) had also paid CSM's debt.

During the proceedings, the court asked what Maryam's date of birth was, to which the investigative officer replied that she was born in 1973 but that he did not know the date of her birth. Maryam added that she was born on October 28.

The NAB prosecutor said that in 2015, CSM was shifted from Gojra to Rahim Yar Khan and Rs1.5 billion was spent on shifting the sugar mill.

Awan said that the revenue spent on shifting CSM also needed to be assessed.

Maryam's lawyer Advocate Amjad Pervez argued that since 2016, the Sharif family had no shares in CSM, adding that the family had been investigated since 1994, as per a Supreme Court order.

He said that the SECP was the regulator and shares are bought and sold through the SECP and the Companies Act and NAB doesn't have the authority to investigate this.

According to Pervez, CSM was set up in 1991 and shares were transferred in 2008 while the Anti-Money Laundering Act was introduced in 2010. He said that the Act cannot be imposed on past dates.

The counsel argued that nothing incriminating was recovered from Maryam. He said that his client was mentally tortured by NAB and alleged that her room used to stink and was not cleaned. Additionally, he said that his client hadn't been investigated for a week and food was kept outside from where she was asked to pick it up herself.

NAB prosecutor Awan said that the suspects who transferred shares to the Sharif family had been included in the investigation.

Maryam's lawyer argued that NAB had the agreement regarding the division of the Sharif family properties since day one. He added that Mian Sharif had died in 2004 and shares were divided in 2008.

He said that Maryam and Yousuf Abbas were accused of supporting former prime minister Nawaz in money laundering but no evidence of this was found.

As the court sent the suspects to jail on judicial remand, Maryam's lawyer requested that his client be sent to Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail instead of Camp Jail.

Pervez said that there were no arrangements for female prisoners in Camp Jail.

"Judge sahib, I request that you order that I be transferred to Kot Lakhpat jail," Maryam said, adding that the things she required could be brought from her house in Model Town.

The judge said that "judicial" had been written on the court order and, on the basis of the law, jail officials could decide where to transfer the suspects. Maryam was later sent to Kot Lakhpat jail while Abbas was sent to Camp jail.