ISLAMABAD - Three petitions challenging the accountability court’s decision regarding the auction of properties and land owned by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif were moved before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday.

The petitioners including Muhammad Ashraf Malik, Mian Iqbal Barkat and Aslam Aziz moved three identical petitions through their counsels Qazi Misbahul Hassan advocate and Muhammad Zain Qazi advocate challenging the verdict of AC Islamabad which had rejected their pleas against auction of the properties.

In their petitions, they adopted the stance that the accountability court had ignored various facts in deciding the case about auction of properties and land of the former prime minister. They prayed to the court to turn down the decisions of the trial court dated October 1, 2020, April 2021 and June 2021 regarding property auctions.

Earlier, an accountability court had dismissed three petitions challenging confiscation and auction of properties owned by former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Toshakhana corruption reference. 

Petitioners say accountability court ignored various facts in deciding case about auction of properties

In their petitions, the petitioners challenged the accountability court (AC) Islamabad orders which it had passed on applications filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and wherein properties held in the name of Nawaz Sharif since declared proclaimed offender, were attached and then a direction was issued to sale certain immovable properties.

The petitioner Ashraf Malik stated that impugned orders include agriculture land measuring 88 kanal situated in Moza Ferozwala district Sheikhupura in list of properties.

Malik claimed that he purchased the land through sale agreement dated 29-5-2019 and paid a sum of 75 million rupees through banking channels to Nawaz Sharif. He added that due to arrest of Nawaz Sharif sale deed was not executed for which the petitioner filed suit for specific performance of agreement to sell on 16-9-2019 in the court of senior civil judge at Sheikhupura.

Malik contended that the factum of transfer of money from the account of petitioner to the account of Sharif and sale of land in question was well within the knowledge of investigating officer of NAB. He further said that no notice was ever given to him and the same has been passed by concealing true facts by the NAB from the AC Islamabad.

“Thus impugned order is illegal, unlawful and violative of settled principles of law and is a result of mala fide, as petitioner has not been afforded any opportunity of hearing,” maintained the petitioner.

Similarly, the petitioner Mian Iqbal Barkat challenged the order to auction of House No 135, the Upper Mall, Lahore and claimed that the house in question was among those non-corporate assets of Ittefaq Group which were settled during overall settlement among seven families who were members of Ittefaq Group and the said House came to the share of family of Mian Barkat Ali.

He continued that since final settlement among all family members, petitioner has been in possession of this house and is residing with his own family members.

Therefore, he prayed to the court that the impugned orders of the AC Islamabad to the extent of House No 135 be set aside and it may kindly be released from attachment in the interest of justice and fair play.

The third petitioner Aslam Aziz challenged the order to sell certain immovable properties including land measuring 105 acres and 10 marla situated in revenue Estate Manak tehsil and district Lahore. He claimed that the land in question is within the boundary wall of residential area of Nawaz Sharif at Jati Umra and “possession of land in question is with petitioner as a lessee/ Patedar of land owned by Nawaz Sharif on the basis of lease agreement/ Patanama.”

He stated that the land consists of family graveyard of Sharif and orchids of Kinow, grape fruit, lemon, fig, grapes, guava, jaman, mango and many others while different species of trees have also been grown on this land which in fact is a botanical garden spread over 38 acres of land.

Therefore, he requested the court to set aside the impugned orders of AC Islamabad to the extent of land measuring 105 acres and 10 marla may be set aside and the same may be released from the attachment.