Maryam’s lawyer concludes arguments in Avenfield reference appeals

Maryam's lawyer concludes arguments in Avenfield reference appeals

ISLAMABAD, Sep 15 (APP): The counsel for PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar on Thursday completed his arguments before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on appeals against their conviction in the Avenfield flats reference by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani heard the appeals. Maryam Nawaz appeared before the court along with her legal team.

During the hearing, Maryam’s lawyer Amjad Parvez argued that he had prepared paper books to assist the court.

He said an expert’s opinion could never be taken as primary evidence while the only thing in NAB’s evidence was the report of Robert Radley.

He said Robert Culp was the only witness to the trust deed. The joint investigation team termed the deed forged, citing the Calibri font was not in existence on the day its documents were signed.

Justice Kayani observed said had the trust deed been registered, then many evidences would have been clear.

The lawyer said there was a letter dated January 5, 2017 in which the Solicitor testified the signature of Hussain Nawaz, and no one, who had signed the trust deed, denied his signature

Justice Kayani remarked that “you had accepted this document and we will take this to Calibri font’s matter”.

Amjad Pervaiz said said that there was no evidence that Calibri font was not available at the time of preparation of the trust deed and “we fully accepted this document.”

He said according to the prosecution the date recorded on the trust deed was wrong as the Calibri font was not available on that date of agreement.

The lawyer said Robert had himself admitted that he was not a font expert. At this, Justice Kayani said then all the evidence was over. In the case Robert Radley’s report was nominal.

The lawyer said if the Calibri font was removed in the matter then there would be no case.

Justice Kayani said whatever font was created, it would have been registered somewhere. On this, the lawyer said it was NAB’s responsibility to bring that on record.

Justice Kayani asked that if the trust deed was valid then what was its effect. The lawyer replied it had no effect. No benefit was taken as the property belonged to the same family, which had to live there, he added.

The lawyer said the prosecution was naming Maryam as the beneficial owner but she had neither lived there nor received its rent. The documents were of 2006 while the instant case was from 1993. The original documents of the trust deed were never made a part of the case record.

Justice Farooq said the main accused in the case had been declared as an absconder and the court was now proceeding with the cases of Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar.

He said the case of the main accused and that of the beneficiary were almost the same. It was a matter of assistance in crime and the prosecution had to prove it.

The lawyer said the court had yet to see whether the case should be tried according to the old NAB law or under the fresh amended one. It was necessary to discuss the asset’s value and sources of income, otherwise, the burden of proof would not be on the accused.

Concluding arguments, Amjad Pervaiz said there was no document and the case was made based on an opinion just.

NAB Prosecutor Sardar Muzafar Abbasi pleaded for adjournment of the hearing as they had to discuss the evidence. The court adjourned the hearing of the case till September 20.

It may be mentioned here that the accountability court had announced imprisonment sentence to Maryam Nawaz and her husband after convicting them in the Aavenfield flats reference.