Hearing of Maryam, Safdar’s appeals in Avenfield case resumes

Published June 3, 2022
A combination photo of PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz (R) and retired Captain Mohammad Safdar (L). Dawn Archives/ VOA Urdu YouTube
A combination photo of PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz (R) and retired Captain Mohammad Safdar (L). Dawn Archives/ VOA Urdu YouTube

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday resumed hearing on appeals of PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and retired Captain Mohammad Safdar against their conviction in the Avenfield Apartment case.

At the outset, deputy prosecutor general Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi drew the attention of the division bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, to the suo motu taken by the Supreme Court over the government’s alleged influence on the prosecution.

He said since the new chairman of National Accountability Bureau had not been appointed and the incumbent chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal, had relinquished his charge, the bureau would become dormant.

He further said that parliament had recently passed a bill to curtail jurisdiction of NAB and the prosecution would examine whether the case in hand would fall within the jurisdiction of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) or otherwise.

Justice Farooq remarked that the Supreme Court had not issued the restraining order in this appeal. He observed that the prosecutors in the case had been appointed by the previous government.

Ms Nawaz’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz said that the president had not yet approved the amended law. He further said that the retirement of NAB chairman would not affect the prosecution in pursing pending trials and appeals.

Mr Pervaiz then started arguments on the appeals against the conviction.

He claimed that the trial court did not provide a copy of key evidence of volume 10 of the report of Joint Investigation Team constituted to probe assets of the Sharif family, on which the prosecution relied for conviction of Ms Nawaz.

Justice Kayani inquired how could the prosecution rely upon the evidence not shared with the accused.

Justice Farooq observed that as per the Law of Evidence, the prosecution had to share the evidence with the accused so that the latter could take an appropriate defence.

The court adjourned the hearing of the case till June 9.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2022

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