PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has set aside the conviction of a woman by an accountability court in a land fraud case and acquitted her.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Syed M. Attique Shah accepted a petition filed by Dr Anees Kausar challenging her conviction by an accountability court on March 31, 2021, on the charge of selling a property of her absconding brother, which was frozen by the National Accountability Bureau.

The trial court in Peshawar had sentenced her till the rising of the court along with Rs500,000 fine.

The high court bench also turned down the appeal of the NAB, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for an increase in the convict’s sentence.

The NAB had alleged that Tariq Fawad Malik and his wife, Aisha Malik, were charged by it with cheating public at large, while a reference was filed with a accountability court in Peshawar against them in 2009 declaring both proclaimed offenders.

The property of the couple, including a piece of land measuring 26 kanals and 11.5 marlas and located in Haripur, was frozen by the NAB director-general in Sept 2007 and that order was confirmed by the accountability court in Nov 2007.

However, the bureau claimed that proclaimed offender Tariq Fawad had executed a general power of attorney in favour of his sister, Dr Anees, in Feb 2010.

It added that the appellant, despite having the knowledge of the order for the freezing of that property, illegally sold it to Mohammad Afzal in 2010, so she was charged with committing corruption and corrupt practices.

Shehbar Khan and Sheraz Khan, the counsel for the appellant (Dr Anees), contended that the evidence on record and statements of witnesses during trial clearly proved that their client was not having knowledge about freezing of the said property.

They pointed out that even the testimony of the concerned tehsildar and patwari proved that even the revenue officers were not aware about the freezing order.

The bench ruled that on appraisal of the evidence, it had reached the conclusion that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove through cogent and confidence inspiring evidence that appellant was in the knowledge of the said freezing order of the property in question.

It added that it had been proved that at the time of the attestation of the mutation in respect of that property, the relevant patwari and revenue officers were present and that none of the revenue officers had objected to the attestation of mutation on the basis of any freezing order of the accountability court.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2021

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