Islamabad – Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband retired Captain Mohammad Safdar were indicted by an accountability court in Islamabad on Thursday in connection with a reference pertaining to the Avenfield flats filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), according to media reports.
All three accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. After their indictment, Maryam, Safdar and Nawaz Sharif’s pleader read out the following statement:
“I do not plead guilty. Charges are not only groundless, baseless and unfounded but also frivolous, and on top of that we are being denied our right to fair trial. The charges are being framed on a report that is incomplete and controversial. It will go down in history as [a] mockery of justice and travesty of justice. Moreover, the charges are being framed without awaiting the detailed order of the Supreme Court in the review petitions.”
Sharif, who is currently in the United Kingdom, was also indicted in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment references as well. His sons, Hassan and Hussain, were named co-accused in the charge sheet in the references.
The court had proceeded to indict Sharif, Maryam and Safdar after rejecting three applications filed by the trio requesting suspension of the indictment.
Since Nawaz Sharif and his lead defence counsel are abroad, the court indicted the former prime minister through pleader Zafir Khan, while the charges against Maryam and Safdar were framed in their presence.
The pleader, Zafir Khan, pleaded not guilty on Sharif’s behalf and read out a statement from him in court.
Maryam has been charged with being the beneficial owner of the London flats and Capt Safdar being her accomplice in acquiring the apartments.
The accused were unsuccessful in showing the sources of income used to purchase the London flats, reads the indictment order.
The trial in the Avenfield flats reference will start on October 26. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) joint registrar, Sidra Mansoor, will record her statement as the first witness in the case.
Maryam Nawaz, while talking to reporters as she was leaving the accountability court, said one day there would be ‘accountability of the accountability process’ her family is going through.
She said this was the first case of its kind “in which the verdict had been announced first and the trial was being held later.” – firstname.lastname@example.org