The News International. The Accountability Court of Islamabad would indict former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar on Oct 15, 2017 (Friday) in the Flagship Investments, Avenfield Apartments, Al-Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Establishment corruption references.
The court granted bail against Rs5 million surety bonds to Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar after inquiring him if he had that much money and telling him if he did not appear, the amount would be confiscated.
Earlier, Captain (retd) Safdar was arrested by the NAB prosecution on Sunday night after he landed at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. He was produced before the court in NAB custody. The court directed Captain (retd) Safdar if he even had to leave Pakistan, he would seek the court’s prior permission in this regard.
The court, after initiation of proclamation process for Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, separated their trial from the rest of the three accused, including Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Safdar.
Maryam Nawaz also submitted Rs5 million surety bonds to ensure her presence while PML-N MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and former federal minister for information Pervaiz Rasheed submitted personnel guarantees for Maryam Nawaz.
During Monday’s proceedings, the court exempted Nawaz Sharif on one hearing from personal appearance before the court on account of treatment of his wife in London. The court also allowed Nawaz Sharif to be represented by a ‘pleader’ (substitute person who can either plead guilty or non-guilty) at the time of indictment on the next date of hearing.
The Accountability Court declared Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz absconders and started process to declare them as proclaimed offenders after the NAB investigation submitted before the court that the summons were served on both at their Lahore and London residences but they were hiding themselves and were intentionally avoiding the court proceedings.
The court also sought details of the properties in the names of Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz within 10 days time, to initiate process under sections 87 & 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) related to confiscation of property in case of absconding.
The court directed the prosecution to publish summons for Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz in different newspapers.Investigation also submitted documents before the court according to which Hassan Nawaz left Pakistan on July 10 while Hussain Nawaz on August 7.
It may be mentioned here that on the last hearing on October 2, the court issued bailable arrest warrant for Maryam Nawaz while non-bailable arrest warrants were issued for Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar.
At the start of the proceedings, Maryam Nawaz was provided with the copies of 53 volume corruption references. After that Captain (retd) Safdar was produced before the court by NAB authorities. A NAB prosecutor told the court that he had been arrested in the light of previous court order while under Section 9-B of the NAB Ordinance, the offence of corruption and corrupt practices was non-bailable. NAB prosecutor Afzal Qureshi argued before the court that under Section 9-B only a high court division bench can grant bail to the accused, Safdar. The NAB prosecution requested the court to confiscate the passport of Captain Safdar and whenever he proceeded abroad, he might seek court’s prior permission.
Legal counsel for Captain (retd) Safdar, Amjad Pervez, advocate, counter argued that the arrest of his client was not made under Section 9-B but in compliance with this court’s orders. In this particular matter, 9-B is irrelevant and the relevant section is 91CrPC. Under Section 91, an accused could be arrested until and unless he surrenders before a court and submits surety bonds to the satisfaction of the court. “My client was in England and he did not receive summons. Despite the fact he voluntarily appeared before the court and surrendered himself before the law,” he said.
The AC judge then granted bail to Captain (retd) Safdar while directing him whenever he had to proceed abroad, he would seek court’s prior permission.
During Monday’s proceedings, members of the NAB investigation team including Muhammad Kamran, Muhammad Imran and Mehboob Alam recorded their statements before the court regarding summons to Hassan and Hussain Nawaz.
Nawaz Sharif through his counsel Khawaja Haris, advocate, submitted an application that he was London in connection with the treatment of his wife who is undergoing a surgery for lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes. Nawaz Sharif said in the application when he first time appeared before the court, an alarming situation arose as doctors had told him that his wife had to undergo a third bout of surgery. Nawaz Sharif submitted that the condition of his wife was getting worse with nausea and vomiting and her oral intake had reduced. The doctors would also start chemotherapy from October 11. The wife of the applicant is fighting for life and at this critical stage, the applicant has to be with her to support her. In these circumstances, he may be granted exemption from personal appearance on October 9, 2017 and once Zaafir Khan, advocate, will represent the applicant.
Nawaz Sharif attached the exemption application, medical reports of his wife Kalsoom Nawaz that are notarised as genuine by a notary public Andrew Brian Alexander Cooper. Medical reports are generated from Leaders in Oncology Care (LOC) health care UK hospital. In the medical report, one Dr Daniel Krell, Consultant Medical Oncologist, addressed Dr Adnan Khan and shared his findings about Kalsoom Nawaz’s disease. Dr Krell advised that Kalsoom Nawaz should be admitted to Wellington Hospital where she will be given chemotherapy on three-weekly basis for six cycles over five months.
After the court proceeding, Maryam Nawaz, while talking to the media, said that those who themselves voluntarily appear before the court are arrested and there are a few who are absconding from the courts.
The questions raised by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) are still questions because they are false allegations.
Maryam Nawaz, while responding to a question about a video in which an ISI high-ranking official is coming out of accountability court, said that she has seen the video and everybody else had also seen that. Whatever message may have been conveyed, the Pakistani people know that and she did not want to comment. To a question if it was an already arranged decision as she suggested, then who arranged it, Maryam said when a case that started due to the Panamaleaks and culminated on ‘Iqama’, then certainly there would be questions and judges had to reply and for the last one and a half years they had been facing cases and several orders were passed. “We faced all the cases, give evidence and proofs but when judges become party, there is no value of proof and evidence,” she said.
“The way this accountability process was initiated, it is now all exposed to the country and there is nothing what I have to say. This is not accountability but revenge and we are appearing before the court despite so many reservations about this process. It is good that politicians and public office holders appear before the court. We are not scared of the arrests and court proceedings. First Mian Nawaz Sharif appeared before the court and now I have. But Nawaz Sharif has already said that he knows what his crime is, even then we surrender before the court of law,” Maryam said.
About her brothers non-appearance before the court, Maryam said, “They are non-resident Pakistanis and Pakistani law is not applicable to them. Hassan and Hussain will themselves decide their course of action.”
On the occasion, Minister of State for Interior Talal Chaudhry said that first, Nawaz Sharif’s appearance before the court was a surprise for opponents and now the appearance of Maryam Nawaz was another surprise. “We will continue giving surprises to our opponents and we want to clear what is difference between mere talking about rule of law and proving with actions,” he said.
Minister for Information Marryium Aurangzeb said that the nation would decide who respected the law, appeared before the court and who did not appear.Like the previous hearing on October 2, there was no mess around and inside the courtroom. The Frontier Constabulary was deputed outside the Federal Judicial Complex and inside the premises there were the Islamabad Police. In comparison to the previous hearing, the media had a bit easy access.
AC judge Muhammad Bashir on September 13 and 19 issued summons for the Sharif family, directing them to appear before the court in the Flagship Investments, Avenfield Apartments and Al-Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Establishment corruption references.
THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL