New petition cites ‘simple and clear-cut facts’ that have been revealed after the pronouncement of judgment and sentence in 2018
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz on Tuesday filed an application with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking annulment of the verdict against her in the Avenfield Apartment reference.
In 2018, an accountability court had convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, and her husband Capt. (retd.) Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield Apartment reference, handing them jail terms of 10, seven and one years, respectively, for owning assets beyond means. Their sentences were suspended later that year with the IHC during appeals, with all three being granted bail.
According to a copy of the new petition, Maryam is seeking an annulment of the sentence in light of “certain extremely relevant, simple and clear-cut facts which have come to light after the pronouncement of judgement and sentence.” Claiming that these facts were “quite well-known,” the petition says that they are being brought to the attention of the IHC so it could decide the matter “expeditiously, justly, fairly and in accordance with law.”
Following the submission, the IHC registrar office raised two objections to the new application, saying the same plea was made in her primary appeal against her conviction. It also said that no new grounds could be accepted for the appeal without the court’s permission. During court proceedings on Wednesday, the IHC dismissed the objections and fixed the appeal for hearing on Oct. 13.
Maryam’s application states that that the proceedings that resulted in her conviction were a “classic example of outright violations of law and political engineering hitherto unheard of in the history of Pakistan.” Referring to a speech of former IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in which he had alleged that the country’s top intelligence agency was involved in manipulating judicial proceedings, the petition claims he said that “ISI officials had approached the chief justice asking him to make sure Nawaz and his daughter should not be bailed before the elections.”
The petition also notes that the Supreme Court had “supervised the entire process of the investigation of the case and monitored the prosecution,” contending that filing three separate references in the case was a violation of law. It says that the top court’s “role in the Constitution is neither that of the investigator nor that of the prosecutor,” adding that NAB is bound to conduct all investigations with transparency.
Urging the court to consider these circumstances, Maryam also referred to a leaked video of Accountability Judge Arshad Malik in which he had alleged that he had been “pressured and blackmailed” to convict Nawaz Sharif in the Al Azizia reference.
In a series of posts on Twitter, Maryam said the media had “for reasons known to everyone” not highlighted the core subjects of her application. “The summary of which is that the case/verdict against me was pre-planned, orchestrated and influenced by Gen. Faiz Hameed, the-then DG [counter-intelligence],” she said of the incumbent Inter-Services Intelligence chief. “It also makes evident how individuals [such] as Gen. Faiz Hameed not only violate the sanctity of their oath but also in doing that bring a bad name to the revered institution of the Armed Forces that resultantly has to bear the brunt of personal ambitions,” she added.