ISLAMABAD: The Islam­abad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday overruled admi­n­istrative objections raised by the registrar office on the application of Pakistan Muslim League-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, seeking to place factual record to substantiate her claim that she had been dragged into the Avenfield apartment reference and subsequently convicted not because of legal grounds but for other reasons.

IHC Justice Aamer Far­ooq and Justice Mohsin Akh­tar Kayani, however, observed that the court would decide the maintainability of the application aft­er hearing the National Acc­o­untability Bureau (NAB).

Subsequently, NAB has been put on notice for Oct 13 when the IHC resumes hearing in the case.

On the other hand, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, while reacting to Ms Nawaz’s filing of the application in the Islamabad High Court, called it an attempt to malign state institutions.

Advocate Irfan Qadir, who appeared on behalf of Ms Nawaz, told the court that some media houses portrayed the application of her client as if it was filed against the army or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Advocate Qadir said his client believed that Pakistan Army was the best force in the world and the ISI was the top intelligence agency. He further said Ms Nawaz respected the superior judiciary, however, the application highlighted a mindset that strived to derail democracy.

After the hearing, Ms Nawaz, while talking to mediapersons, alleged that a former spymaster fabricated the case against her and unnecessarily dragged the state institution in the controversy.

She referred to the speech of former IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in which he revealed that days before her conviction, the spymaster sought the judge’s assurance that he would not grant bail to Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif at least till the general elections were over, otherwise their two-year effort would end in futility.

“He knew the verdict of [accountability] judge Bashir well before it was announced,” she claimed.

She went on to say that “his two years efforts to derail the democratic government had played havoc with the destiny of Pakistani people”.

Maryam Nawaz claimed that former chief justice of the Supreme Court Saqib Nisar was working under pressure and brought judiciary into disrepute by victimising Nawaz Sharif.

She also criticised former chief justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa and retired Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh for equating the PML-N leaders to ‘Godfather’ and ‘Sicilian Mafia’, adding that they had to eat their words.

In the application, Ms Nawaz submitted transcripts and links of the speeches of former IHC judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and the conversation of late accountability judge Mohammad Arshad Malik in which he confessed to having convicted PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif under duress.

In addition, she placed before the IHC bench excerpts of the petition of Justice Siddiqui pending before the Supreme Court, in which the former judge was quoted as saying that the spymaster met him a few days before the conviction of the Sharif family and tried to persuade him not to grant them bail before the general elections.

The application referred to a speech delivered by Justice Siddiqui before the Rawalpindi Bar Association on July 21, 2018 that categorically made reference to the involvement of certain persons in manipulating the judicial verdicts, influencing the marking of cases and formation of benches in the IHC.

Interior minister’s reaction

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed criticised Maryam Nawaz for filing the application before the IHC.

He termed her application as against the army and institutions, saying that the army was a symbol of Pakistan’s solidarity.

The minister said the army was proficiently accomplishing its responsibility of safeguarding the country and performing duties on the borders to protect every inch of the motherland.

Mr Ahmed said unfortunately the PML-N was trying to malign state institutions for petty political gains but it would fail to do so, adding that defeat was its fate and the party was “doing all this to come into power”.

He advised Nawaz Sharif to come back if he wanted a serious role in the country’s politics.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2021

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