The Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a detailed judgement on Thursday said that the decision of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Supremo Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain Safdar in the Avenfield reference was ‘incorrect’.
The detailed verdict that exonerated Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar, and all but paved the way for Nawaz Sharif’s acquittal was given on the basis of appeals filed by Maryam and Capt. Safdar against their conviction in 2018.
The judgement was issued by IHC Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, who noted that the prosecution had ‘not been able to prove its case’, and therefore, the conviction of the two appellants was lacking ‘justification and basis’.
Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar had been convicted in July 2018 by accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir after a six-member team probed into the revelations made in the Panama Papers.
In the detailed verdict issued today, the IHC noted that ‘not a single document’ existed that proved the charges of the prosecution against the accused. The judgement said that the prosecution had to prove that Nawaz had purchased the Avenfield apartments in Maryam’s name through corrupt and illegal practices, and that she knowingly aided and abetted the purchase, as well the concealment of the true ownership.
The IHC said that the prosecution also had to prove that Nawaz Sharif was a public office holder at the time of purchase, but had failed to do so, saying in the detailed verdict, “There does not exist on record any evidence to the effect.”
Ultimately, the IHC concluded that the prosecution had not been able to prove the charges against Maryam Nawaz and Capt. Safdar. “Hence, the July 6, 2018 judgment to the extent of appellants is set aside and they are acquitted of the charges,” the judgment read.