Accountability court in Lahore grants Nawaz, Maryam exemption from appearance in CSM case

November 22, 2019

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PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz appears before an accountability court in Lahore on Friday. — Photo courtesy Adnan Sheikh
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz appears before an accountability court in Lahore on Friday. — Photo courtesy Adnan Sheikh

An accountability court in Lahore on Friday granted PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, an exemption from appearing before the court in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.

The former premier has been granted an exemption for four weeks whereas his daughter has been granted an exemption from court appearances until the reference in the case is filed.

During the proceedings, accountability court judge Chaudhry Ameer Mohammad Khan asked what the status of the reference in the CSM case was, in response to which NAB prosecutor Hafiz Asadullah Awan said that the investigation was underway and as soon as it is completed, a reference will be filed.

PML-N vice president Maryam, who appeared in court today, submitted an application to be given exemption from court appearances until the filing of the reference. Another application was submitted seeking an exemption for Nawaz's attendance in the proceedings.

Maryam's lawyer Advocate Amjad Pervez added that whenever his client has to appear before the court, the roads have to be closed.

Opposing the application, the NAB prosecutor said that Maryam has to appear in court as per law, adding that the bureau would submit a written response to the application.

Pervez said NAB had not even filed a supplementary reference and inquired why the suspects needed to be summoned. He said as per criminal law, until a chalaan is not received, suspects do not need to appear before the court.

Earlier this month, the Lahore High Court (LHC) had granted Maryam bail in the case.

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

Meanwhile, regarding Nawaz's exemption application, the judge asked why the former premier had not appeared in court today, in response to which his lawyer said that after the order from the LHC, Nawaz had gone abroad for treatment.

His counsel Advocate Pervez said that after receiving complete treatment, Nawaz will return to Pakistan and face the cases against him.

In response to both exemption applications, NAB said it would submit a written reply. However, the court rejected the accountability watchdog's request and told the bureau to present its arguments on Maryam's application during the hearing.

The prosecutor said that if someone was granted bail, it was necessary for them to appear for trial hearings.

Ordering NAB to speedily submit a reference in the CSM case, the court adjourned proceedings until December 6. Additionally, the judicial remand for Maryam's cousin, Yousuf Abbas, was also extended until the next hearing.