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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court on Wednesday rejected three petitions against auction of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s seized properties in Toshakhana case.

Accountability Court-III Judge Syed Asghar Ali, while announcing its reserved judgment, dismissed three pleas moved by Ashraf Malik, Aslam Aziz, and Mian Iqbal Barkat, through their counsel, seeking to halt auction of Sharif’s seized properties.

Three petitioners challenged the order of the district administration to auction three properties — a house at Lahore’s Upper Mall and two different agricultural lands measuring 88 kanals and 105 acres.

The decision to auction Sharif’s properties was taken as Sharif was declared proclaimed offender by the Accountability Court in the Toshakhana reference including former president Asif Ali Zardari, former premier Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, and others.

The Accountability Court had earlier reserved its verdict after hearing of arguments of prosecution and defence counsel.

The same court had on April 22 directed the revenue authorities of the Punjab government to auction properties of Sharif including include House No 135, Upper Mall, Lahore, and 88 kanals and 105 acres of agricultural land in Ferozwattan in Sheikhupura district within 60 days, since, he is absconding in Toshakhana reference.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 20 also dismissed three petitions filed against the auction of three properties of Sharif.

In his application, Mian Iqbal Barkat contended that the Upper Mall’s house is the property of the Ittefaq Group – a joint property of Mian Sharif [Nawaz’s father], MianShafi, MianMiraj Uddin, and other family members, and it cannot be auctioned on the order of the accountability court.

Aslam Aziz contended that Deputy Commissioner (DC) Lahore has confiscated a piece of land of 105 acres.

He said he had taken the land from Sharif on lease and has made heavy investment by setting up farms on it.

He said his livelihood depends on that land and he would suffer a huge loss, if it were auctioned.

In his application, Muhammad Ashraf claimed that he has bought the 88 kanal piece of land in Sheikhupura from Sharif and made him a payment of Rs 77.5m through a cheque.

While dismissing the petitions, the court ruled that the petitioners had alternative remedy as they could have filed objection before the accountability court that had ordered auction of the properties.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021