Victory shines over Sharifs as court overturns Maryam Nawaz's conviction in corruption case

by IANS |

Islamabad, Sep 30 (IANS) In a massive shift of tides in Pakistan's political turmoil, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has overturned the June 2018 decision of the Accountability Court against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt (retd) Safdar Awan in the Avenfield Apartments corruption case.

After almost five years, the Sharif family is celebrating victory against what they term as their legal battle against Imran Khan and his influenced accountability process, that started targeting them in the Panama Gate case.

As per the latest order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), Maryam and her husband stands clear of all allegations and convictions in the case.

The decision came after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor failed to satisfy the court with the presented evidence, which led to the conviction of the Sharif family.

It was the same case that led to sentencing of Nawaz Sharif to at least 10 years in jail, nine years for Maryam Nawaz and one year for Safdar on charges of being found guilty in corruption charges, concealing evidence and non-cooperation with NAB in establishing or countering its claims.

NAB has contested that Avenfield apartments were bought in 1993, for which, Nawaz Sharif paid the property's payment and Maryam Nawaz was the beneficial owner of the property.

The Bureau maintained that the former Prime Minister did not declare these properties that he had bought while he held office.

However, PML-N supremo maintained that he had no connection to the apartments buying process as the companies owned by his son Hassan Nawaz bought them in 2006.

The case was filed in the Supreme Court by former premier Imran Khan during October 2016, in which he sought disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, claiming that the London properties were owned by the latter but were not declared in his assets.

The case was later investigated by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in 2018 after Khan won the general elections and took power.

The JIT team probed into the matter and shared its opinion that the properties were owned by Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz.

The matter revealed many concerns with a trust deed under the famous Calibri font, which Khan claimed was used to write a fake deed, back-dated of February 2006, when the font was not open for commercial use.

However, this claim was refuted by Lucas De Groot, the founder of the Calibri font, who clarified that it was not available commercially but its downloadable version was available, which was used by most "tech geeks".

While many such pointers were raised during the course of time of the investigation and authenticity of various documents were being verified. One big twist into the case was related to the political maneuvering during the 2018 elections, when a sitting judge of the IHC claimed that he was directed by the military establishment to make sure that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter are kept behind bars till the elections are over.

Justice Shaukat Aziz revealed these details during a session of the bar council where he claimed that he was pressurized to give a verdict into the case negating the merits of the case.

A similar leak was also released of a telephonic conversation between the then sitting Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) saying clearly that he has been asked to make sure that Sharif family is kept behind bars despite not meriting to any conviction. The reason he gave in the leaked conversation that he has been told that Khan has to be brought into power.

But with the latest development, the PML-N is making a big comeback into the political completion in Pakistan and it seems that, the same path will be used to ensure the victorious return of Nawaz Sharif also.

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