LHC orders return of Maryam Nawaz’s passport

LHC orders return of Maryam Nawaz's passport

LAHORE, Oct 03 (APP):The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday ordered to return the passport of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, which she had surrendered to the court deputy registrar judicial for securing bail in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, passed the orders while allowing a civil miscellaneous application, filed by Maryam Nawaz in a pending petition.

Maryam Nawaz’s counsel Advocate Amjad Pervaiz, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutors and a deputy attorney general appeared before the bench, during Monday’s proceedings.

Advocate Amjad Pervaiz sought apology from the bench over his failure to appear before it on time, on the previous hearing.

To which, the chief justice observed that it was no problem, questioning whether Maryam Nawaz had filed an application for return of her passport earlier as well.

The counsel submitted that the old application had become ineffective in the light of the present application, and requested the bench to allow him to withdraw the old application.

The bench directed the counsel to advance his arguments on the new application, filed by Maryam Nawaz for return of her passport.

Amjad Pervaiz submitted that an LHC division bench had granted bail to Maryam Nawaz in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case in 2019, and ordered for depositing Rs 70 million and surrendering her passport to secure release. He submitted that his client complied with the court orders and deposited the money and also surrendered her passport to the deputy registrar judicial.

He submitted that NAB did not filed any reference or submitted any report in the court concerned despite a lapse of 4-year period. He submitted that the situation would have been different if the bureau had filed the case and Maryam had defended it.

He submitted that it was also a matter of fundamental rights, as no one could be deprived of one’s right to free movement. He added that his client wanted the case to be filed so that she could defend herself. He submitted that long delay was equal to abuse of the law, adding that the courts dismiss the cases without observing the merit due to long delay.

He submitted that Avenfield case could have become a hindrance in the return of the passport, but it did not exist any more as the Islamabad High Court had acquitted his client in the case.

To a court query, Amjad Pervaiz submitted that the bench could amend the earlier bail orders.

At this stage, the chief justice addressed a deputy attorney general and questioned what was the stance of the federal government in the matter.

To which, the deputy attorney general replied that the government did not have any objection on the return of the passport.

To another query, the NAB prosecutor submitted after the NAB amendment ordinance, it was being reviewed whether the case could proceed or not. It is for the investigation wing to decide whether the case will proceed or be closed, he added. He submitted that the bureau did not have any objection on the return of the passport, while responding to a court query.

Subsequently, the bench allowed Maryam Nawaz’s application for return of the passport and ordered the deputy registrar judicial to return the passport.