LHC reserves verdict on Maryam's bail plea in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case

Published October 31, 2019
NAB has opposed Maryam Nawaz's plea for bail on humanitarian grounds. — Adnan Sheikh/File
NAB has opposed Maryam Nawaz's plea for bail on humanitarian grounds. — Adnan Sheikh/File

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday reserved its verdict on a bail plea filed by PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case after the petitioner and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) concluded their arguments.

The PML-N vice president had approached the high court on September 30 seeking post-arrest bail in the case, which is being investigated by NAB. Following the sudden deterioration in the health of her father, Nawaz Sharif, she then filed a miscellaneous petition on October 24 seeking immediate bail on the basis of fundamental rights and humanitarian reasons.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem heard the petitions today. During the proceedings, NAB's counsel Jahanzaib Bharwana opposed Maryam's request for bail on humanitarian grounds and said: "It has been established by Supreme Court's verdicts that a suspect can only be granted bail in extraordinary circumstances.

"Maryam Nawaz's case does not qualify as an extraordinary one."

"The jail superintendent had allowed Maryam Nawaz to meet her father," Bharwana argued.

In a previous hearing of the appeal, the court had asked Maryam's counsel if she had been granted permission to meet her ailing father Nawaz Sharif, to which her lawyer, Azam Nazir Tarar, responded in the affirmative.

The former premier was rushed to Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) last week after his personal physician raised alarm about his deteriorating health. He is currently admitted at the hospital.

During today's hearing, NAB's lawyer said that Maryam had played an "important role in money laundering" and added that a hefty amount of money was transferred from accounts opened by CSM to the petitioner. He told the court that Maryam had not been able to give satisfactory answers to NAB's inquiries regarding her shares in CSM. She was also unable to explain how she attained the funds to establish Shamim Sugar Mills, Bharwana said.

The lawyer further said that the PML-N vice president had not filed her tax returns for many years and was suspected of owning assets beyond known means.

In response to a query by the court, Bharwana said that the former premier's daughter had been convicted in the Avenfield corruption case and was sentenced to seven years in prison by an accountability court. He informed the court that the Islamabad High Court had suspended Maryam's sentence as it was hearing a review appeal.

Maryam and her cousin Yousaf Abbas were arrested by NAB on August 8 in the CSM case. Later, on September 26, they were sent to jail on judicial remand by an accountability court in Lahore.

NAB suspects Maryam of involvement in money laundering through investments of variable heavy amounts being the main shareholder of the CSM. It has alleged that she was involved in money laundering with the help of some foreigners during the period of 1992-93, when her father Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister.

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