- In 2018, Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir had given Maryam prison sentence of seven years
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) acquitted on Thursday Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar (retired) in the Avenfield case, four years after their conviction, Aaj News reported.
A division bench of Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the appeals today. Justice Farooq said no document had been presented so far that could be linked to the properties of Maryam and Nawaz Sharif.
Justice Kayani observed that on the basis of documents, NAB had prepared the entire case against Maryam, adding that property being in a daughter’s name did not necessarily mean that it was owned by the father.
Speaking to the media, Maryam hailed the verdict, saying that their stance stood “vindicated”. She said that during the hearing, she saw a reversal of all that had happened in the past four years.
She further said that the verdict also acquits deposed prime minister Nawaz, adding that in the history of Pakistan, no prime minister had faced such a massive anti-graft probe as Nawaz.
She said soon Nawaz will also return to Pakistan, calling out Imran Khan for leveling false allegations against her and her family. Maryam asked what Imran would do now as he has been proven "a liar" and "a conspirator".
"Imran Khan is helpless now," Maryam said.
Following the verdict, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took to Twitter and wrote that the edifice of lies, slander and character assassination has come crumbling down today.
"Maryam Nawaz's acquittal in the Avenfield Reference is a slap in the face of so-called accountability system that was employed to target Sharif family. My congratulations to Maryam Beti and Safdar," he tweeted.
Earlier, the court had asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor to prove through evidence that Maryam aided and abetted her father Nawaz Sharif in acquiring the Avenfield properties in London in 1993 or 2006 when the trust deed was signed.
The IHC bench also asked the NAB Special Prosecutor, Usman Cheema, to prove through evidence that these properties were acquired by Nawaz Sharif in the 1990s.
He further said that if the NAB could not prove the case against the principle accused Nawaz Sharif then there would be no significance of the charges of aiding and abetting.
The Avenfield case
On July 6, 2018, Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir had convicted Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Safdar in the Avenfield Apartment case and given them a prison terms of ten years, seven years, and one year, respectively. The court had later suspended their sentences.
Later, Maryam had filed a new appeal, seeking annulment of that verdict. Maryam said that the entire proceedings that resulted in her conviction were a “classic example of outright violations of law and political engineering".