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Avenfield case: IHC overrules Registrar’s objections on Maryam’s fresh application – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday removed the Registrar objections on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s fresh application to bring forth certain facts that happened after conviction in the Avenfield case.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, heard Maryam and her husband ex-Captain Muhammad Safdar’s appeals against their conviction, and it also heard an application of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) seeking hearing of their appeals on a daily basis.

The bench said it would decide the maintainability of the application on the next date (October 13).

During the hearing, Maryam along with her counsel Irfan Qadir, former attorney general, appeared before the bench and dispelled the impression that the PML-N leader was against the armed forces. Qadir said that a misunderstanding had been spreading since yesterday.

The counsel further said that he wanted to clarify that our armed forces and the security agencies are the best in the world. Similarly, our judges are great too, except in a few political matters. He added they were not against individuals but certain mindsets that silence democracy in Pakistan. He also stated that they moved the fresh application to bring forth certain facts that happened after the conviction in the Avenfield case.

Justice Aamer, addressing the counsel, said the NAB has also filed a petition seeking day to day hearing and conclusion of the case within a month. The former attorney general said the anti-graft watchdog’s application for hearing the appeals on a daily basis was non-maintainable, and urged the court to dismiss it. Later, the bench overruled the registrar’s office two objections and deferred the proceedings till October 13 for further proceedings.

Maryam had filed a new application seeking annulment of the verdict of her conviction in the Avenfield Apartment reference.

In her application, Maryam prayed before the court that the applicant/appellant may graciously be “acquitted of all charges and the order of conviction of Accountability Court may kindly be set at naught.” She adopted that the entire proceedings resulting in aforesaid conviction both at pre-trial and post-trial stage are “a classic example of outright violations of law and political engineering hitherto unheard of in the history of Pakistan. The element of political engineering is unambiguously established in the instant case especially when the same is placed in juxtaposition with the concurrent violations of law and the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 that are being brought to the notice of this honourable court in the succeeding paragraphs of this application.”

The PML-N leader maintained that besides other important legal considerations, the instant application is being filed “in consequence of certain extremely relevant, simple and clear-cut facts which have come to light after the pronouncement of judgment and sentence dated 06.07.2018. These facts which even otherwise are quite well known are being brought to the notice of this honourable court for enabling it to decide this matter expeditiously, justly, fairly and in accordance with law.”

In her plea, she also mentioned and quoted an excerpt from the speech of former judge of IHC Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui while addressing the Rawalpindi Bar Association. She said that the statements made by Justice Siddiqui not only cast enormous doubt on the impartiality of the impugned decision from which the instant appeal has arisen, but it also unfolds the pressures and manipulation which may have led to the orders of the Supreme Court in respect of the filing of the references against the former Prime Minister and his family, the conduct of the officials of the National Accountability Bureau thereafter and the subsequent trial in the Avenfield reference which finally culminated in the Judgment and sentence dated 6 July 2018.

Maryam stated that it is settled law that justice should not only be done but should manifestly be seen to be done. However, it is evident from the aforesaid facts that the decision rendered in the Avenfield reference is a clear “mockery and travesty of justice”. “Hence, the conviction of the applicant is liable to be set aside,” the PML-N leader added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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