ISLAMABAD    -    The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday asked the National Ac­countability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor to prove through evidenc­es that former prime minister Nawaz Shar­if had purchased Aven­field properties.

A division bench of IHC comprising Jus­tice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani conducted hear­ing of appeals of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retired) Mu­hammad Safdar against her conviction in the Avenfield reference. 

During the hearing, Justice Aamer asked the NAB prosecutor that the bureau has to prove that Nawaz Sharif is the owner of the said flats. He added that the NAB also has to explain that how Maryam Nawaz aided and abetted her father Nawaz Sharif in acquiring the Avenfield properties in London in 1993 or 2006 when the trust deed was signed.

The IHC bench also 

asked the NAB special prose­cutor Usman Cheema to prove through evidence that these properties were acquired by Nawaz Sharif in the 1990s. 

Justice Aamer further said that if the NAB could not prove the case against principle accused Nawaz Sharif then there would be no significance of the charges of aiding and abetting.

Opposing the pleas of Maryam Nawaz and her husband, the NAB prosecutor Usman Chee­ma said that the court rejected Nawaz’s plea on June 23, 2021 and in its verdict said that the former premier was given the chance of a fair trial.

At this, the court said that Nawaz Sharif’s appeal was not rejected on merit but was re­jected after he became an ab­sconder in the case. Then, the bench asked the NAB prosecu­tor to prove that the Avenfield apartments are property of Nawaz Sharif.

It added that first prove that the flats are property of Nawaz Sharif and only then the case of aiding and abetting against Maryam Nawaz can be made. He also said that the court can­not carry on the case on as­sumptions.

Justice Aamer also made it clear that any Supreme Court observation in the Panamagate judgment was not relevant to the decision regarding Maryam Nawaz’s appeal against her con­viction. He said that the NAB has to prove whether the pros­ecution proved the case against Maryam before the account­ability court. He asked Cheema about the case against Maryam and her husband, whether NAB had investigated the matter and whether the witnesses were called for investigation.

Justice Kayani said that the four charges against Maryam are of fabrication, use of calibri font, misleading the agency and con­cealing the actual facts. He not­ed that Maryam has not said that the property was her own, or that she owned it. He added that minus the trust deed, you have no case. The NAB prosecutor as­serted that Maryam aided, abet­ted and assisted her father in ac­quiring the properties in 2006. 

Justice Aamer asked the NAB about Nawaz Sharif’s role in ac­quiring the properties.

He said that it was a basic criminal law that the prosecu­tion must establish its case us­ing evidence even if the accused has admitted of committing the crime. The judge questioned that what evidence the pros­ecution had to prove the case against Nawaz Sharif. He main­tained that the prosecution has to establish the case beyond reasonable doubt.

The IHC bench also asked about the nexus between the two offshore companies and Nawaz Sharif, through docu­mental evidence. It inquired that who made the payment to acquire the properties in 1993 and NAB has to prove that the payment to acquire these prop­erties came from Nawaz Sharif. On the argument of NAB prose­cutor that Nawaz Sharif is living in the same apartments in Lon­don, the bench remarked that half of Pakistanis are living in others’ homes.

Later, the bench deferred the hearing till September 29 for further proceedings.