NAB challenges Maryam's bail in top court, wonders if LHC had 'fallen in error'

06 Dec 2019

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Maryam Nawaz had been granted bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case, in which she is a suspect, for an indefinite period by the LHC. — Adnan Sheikh/File
Maryam Nawaz had been granted bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case, in which she is a suspect, for an indefinite period by the LHC. — Adnan Sheikh/File

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday challenged in the Supreme Court the bail granted to PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Last month, Maryam had been granted bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case, in which she is a suspect, for an indefinite period by the LHC. While the high court had reserved its verdict on October 31, it was announced on November 4.

In its petition filed today, NAB argued that the LHC, in granting post-arrest bail to the PML-N leader, might have "fallen in error" because it did not consider the "cardinal principle of criminal law as envisaged under the provisions of Section 9(b) of NAO, (National Accountability Ordinance) 1999". As per Section 9 (b) of NAO, all offences under the Ordinance are non-bailable.

NAB's petition further said that the LHC might have also ignored previous Supreme Court orders in this regard. The accountability watchdog pointed out that Maryam is suspected of involvement in money laundering through investments of variable heavy amounts being the main shareholder of the CSM. NAB has also 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.

The anti-corruption bureau urged the Supreme Court to allow NAB to "examine the legality, propriety and vires" of the LHC verdict. It further prayed that the top court sets aside the high court's decision and cancels Maryam's bail in the "interest of justice".

Maryam's bail

The PML-N leader had been arrested along with her cousin Yousuf Abbas by NAB in the CSM corruption case on August 8. On September 25, they were sent to jail on judicial remand by an accountability court in Lahore.

The PML-N vice president had approached LHC 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.

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.