LHC grants bail to Maryam Nawaz in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, orders release

Published November 4, 2019
Maryam Nawaz is a primary suspect in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. — DawnNewsTV/File
Maryam Nawaz is a primary suspect in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. — DawnNewsTV/File

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday granted bail to PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz who was arrested on August 8 in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.

A two-member bench of the high court, comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem, announced the verdict. The legal representatives of Maryam and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were present in the court.

The PML-N leader has been ordered to furnish two surety bonds, each worth Rs10 million, and deposit an additional Rs70million and surrender her passport to secure her release.

"Since the prosecution has shown the bank statement of the [...] petitioner in which on 28.11.2011 [...] Rs7 crores were withdrawn and the prosecution has apprehension of fleeing away of the petitioner, therefore, to satisfy our judicial conscience we would pass a conditional order," says the court's written order, granting Maryam bail under Article 199 of the Constitution.

PML-N supporters gathered outside the court celebrated the bench's order while party president, Shehbaz Sharif, via a statement welcomed the decision.

He also appealed to supporters to not indulge in celebrations or distribute sweets and instead, pray for former premier Nawaz Sharif's health.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman also welcomed the court's verdict, adding, "Hope that the PPP leadership, including President Zardari who is in custody for questioning, will also be released soon. Keeping political opponents in jail with no wrong proven is bad news."

Arguments conclude

The bench had reserved its verdict in the case on October 31 after both the petitioner and NAB had concluded their arguments.

The PML-N vice president had approached the high court on September 30 seeking post-arrest bail in the CSM case, in which she is suspected of money laundering.

Following the sudden deterioration in the health of her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, she then filed a miscellaneous petition on October 24 seeking immediate bail on the basis of fundamental rights and humanitarian reasons. On October 29, the Islamabad High Court suspended her father's sentence in the Al Azizia case for eight weeks.

Before the court reserved its verdict on Maryam's bail plea, NAB's additional prosecutor general Jahanzaib Bharwana had opposed her 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 PML-N leader had been allowed to see her father once last month when she herself was admitted to the Services Hospital due to some health complaints. The development came after a request was sent by the party to the Punjab Home Department asking for special permission to be granted.

Maryam's arrest

Maryam and her cousin Yousuf Abbas were arrested by NAB on August 8 in the CSM case. Later, on September 25, they were sent to jail on judicial remand by an accountability court in Lahore.

The accountability watchdog 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 Nawaz was the prime minister.

Maryam was convicted last year for abetment by an accountability court in the Avenfield corruption case and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Her sentence was later suspended by the Islamabad High Court as it was hearing a review appeal.

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