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ISLAMABAD: The decision of the accountability court regarding auction of properties and land owned by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Muhammad Ashraf Malik, Mian Iqbal Barkat, and Aslam Aziz, on Monday, filed identical petitions challenging the verdict of the Accountability Court (AC) Islamabad, which had rejected their pleas against the auction of the properties.

The petitioners contended that the accountability court had ignored the various facts in deciding the case about the auction of the properties and land of the former prime minister. They prayed before the court to turn down the decisions of the trial court dated October 1, 2020, April 2021, and June 2021 regarding the property auctions.

An accountability court had dismissed the three petitions challenging the confiscation and auction of properties owned by former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Toshakhana corruption reference.

The petitioners challenged the AC Islamabad orders which had passed on the applications filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and wherein properties held in the name of Nawaz Sharif since declared proclaimed offender, were attached and then a direction has been issued to sell certain immovable properties.

The petitioner, Malik, stated that the impugned orders include agriculture land measuring 88 kanals situated in MozaFerozwala, District Sheikhupura in the list of the properties. Malik claimed that he purchased the land through a sale agreement dated 29-5-2019 and paid a sum of 75 million rupees through banking channels to Nawaz Sharif.

He added that due to arrest of Nawaz Sharif, sale deed was not executed for which the petitioner filed suit for specific performance of agreement to sell on 16-9-2019 in the court of senior civil judge at Sheikhupura.

Malik contended that the factum of transfer of money from the account of the petitioner to the account of Sharif and sale of land in question was well within the knowledge of the investigating officer of the NAB.

He further said that no notice was ever given to him and the same has been passed by concealing true facts by the NAB from the AC Islamabad. "Thus, impugned order is illegal, unlawful and violative of settled principles of law and is a result of mala fide, as petitioner has not been afforded any opportunity of hearing," maintained the petitioner. Similarly, the petitioner, Barkat, challenged the order to auction of House No 135, Upper Mall, Lahore and claimed that the house in question was among those non-corporate assets of Ittefaq Group, which were settled during overall settlement among seven families, who were members of Ittefaq Group and the said House came to the share of family of Barkat. He continued that since final settlement among all family members, petitioner has been in the possession of this house and is residing with his own family members. Therefore, he prayed before the court that the impugned orders of the AC Islamabad to the extent of House No 135 be set aside, and it may kindly be released from attachment in the interest of justice and fair play.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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