LAHORE    -   The Lahore High Court (LHC) Mon­day ordered to return the passport of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, which she had surrendered to the court deputy regis­trar judicial for secur­ing bail in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, passed the orders while al­lowing a civil miscella­neous application, filed by Maryam Nawaz in a pending petition.

Maryam Nawaz’s counsel Advocate Am­jad Pervaiz, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutors and a deputy attorney gen­eral appeared before the bench, during Mon­day’s proceedings. Ad­vocate Amjad Pervaiz 

Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, passed the orders while allowing a civil miscellaneous application, filed by Maryam Nawaz in a pending petition.

Maryam Nawaz’s counsel Ad­vocate Amjad Pervaiz, Nation­al Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutors and a deputy attor­ney general appeared before the bench, during Monday’s proceedings. 

Advocate Amjad Pervaiz sought apology from the bench over his failure to appear be­fore it on time, on the previ­ous hearing. To which, the chief justice observed that it was no problem, questioning whether Maryam Nawaz had filed an ap­plication for return of her pass­port earlier as well.

The counsel submitted that the old application had be­come ineffective in the light of the present application, and re­quested the bench to allow him to withdraw the old application. The bench directed the coun­sel to advance his arguments on the new application, filed by Maryam Nawaz for return of her passport.

Amjad Pervaiz submitted that an LHC division bench had granted bail to Maryam Nawaz in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case in 2019, and ordered for depositing Rs70 million and surrendering her passport to secure release. He submitted that his client complied with the court orders and deposited the money and also surrendered her passport to the deputy reg­istrar judicial.

He submitted that NAB did not filed any reference or sub­mitted any report in the court concerned despite a lapse of 4-year period. He submitted that the situation would have been different if the bureau had filed the case and Maryam had defended it. He submitted that it was also a matter of funda­mental rights, as no one could be deprived of one’s right to free movement. He added that his client wanted the case to be filed so that she could defend herself. He submitted that long delay was equal to abuse of the law, adding that the courts dis­miss the cases without observ­ing the merit due to long delay.

He submitted that Avenfield case could have become a hin­drance in the return of the pass­port, but it did not exist any­more as the Islamabad High Court had acquitted his client in the case. To a court query, Am­jad Pervaiz submitted that the bench could amend the earlier bail orders.

At this stage, the chief jus­tice addressed a deputy attor­ney general and questioned what was the stance of the fed­eral government in the matter. To which, the deputy attorney general replied that the govern­ment did not have any objection on the return of the passport.

To another query, the NAB prosecutor submitted after the NAB amendment ordinance, it was being reviewed whether the case could proceed or not. It is for the investigation wing to decide whether the case will proceed or be closed, he added. He submitted that the bureau did not have any objection on the return of the passport, while responding to a court query.

Subsequently, the bench al­lowed Maryam Nawaz’s appli­cation for return of the passport and ordered the deputy regis­trar judicial to return the pass­port. In a tweet, PML-N lead­er Maryam Nawaz said that her passport had been returned. It was confiscated three years ago in a case that has not been filed till date. In fear of her public gatherings, Imran Khan kept her detained in NAB custody for “in­terrogation” for three months. Imran had also kept her in the Death Cell of Kot Lakhpat Jail, she alleged