ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was convicted without any oral or documentary evidence that would substantiate his beneficial or real ownership of London’s Avenfield Apartments. This was argued by the defence counsel before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday during the hearing of Maryam Nawaz’s appeal against her conviction in the reference.

The case was being heard before an IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

Advocate Amjad Pervaiz, counsel of Maryam Nawaz, said that neither the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by Wajid Zia nor the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) brought any oral or documentary evidence on judicial record to corroborate Mr Sharif’s title of ownership or beneficial ownership of the properties.

He was responding to the court’s query about the charges levelled against Ms Nawaz for abetting Mr Sharif in procuring the said properties.

Mr Pervaiz claimed that the JIT and the NAB investigation team have also failed to bring evidence from the utility service providers, revenue records or any other document to prove the ownership of Mr Sharif, adding that the JIT deliberately avoided collecting evidence that might have gone in favour of the Sharif family.

He pointed out that the JIT did not investigate Dibb Lupton Broomhead or Lawrence Radley, who categorically stated that Nawaz Sharif did not purchase the apartments, while none of the utility service providers or maintenance company that could potentially prove that Nawaz Sharif or Maryam Nawaz had no connection whatsoever with the Avenfield properties were contacted by the investigators.

According to Advocate Pervaiz, the only evidence with the prosecution was the letters annexed with the petition of Imran Khan and the ‘irrelevant’ documents procured through mutual legal assistance (MLA) from the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Islands.

He further said that the prosecution produced excerpts of Mr Sharif’s speech on the floor of the house to prove his ownership adding that the superior courts had already declared that a confession without completing all the required formalities is just hearsay.

Mr Pervaiz argued that the prosecution did not put any question to Ms Nawaz regarding her abetment or alleged connivance.

The hearing was adjourned till June 16.

Maryam Nawaz talk

Talking to the media following her appearance in the IHC, Ms Nawaz said that the previous PML-N government had reduced electricity loadshedding from 20 hours to “zero”. She blamed Imran Khan for the present power shortfall and hours-long loadshedding.

She expressed the hope that the PML-N-led government would ensure that the sick power plants would become operational by the end of this month.

Ms Nawaz said that the government is making all-out efforts for the revival of the economy.

Referring to the statement of PTI’s staunch ally Sheikh Rashid, Ms Nawaz said that Mr Rashid has confirmed that Imran Khan had laid “landmines” for the incoming government.

She added that Mr Khan had played havoc with the country’s foreign relations.

She said that despite the deteriorating financial condition, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has introduced a multibillion-rupee relief package for the poor.

According to her, PML-N will provide further relief to the people of Pakistan with the gradual improvement in economy.

Maryam Nawaz said that ex-PM Imran Khan should be probed for handing over control of Punjab to Farah Gogi. She said that property tycoon Malik Riaz would also be probed for gifting diamond ring as a “bribe” for opening the site of his housing society.

She criticised a private television channel for airing fake news of imposition of financial emergency that led to sudden jump in dollar rate and said she had requested the prime minister to take action against the said channel.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2022

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