–PML-N leaders and supporters disrupt court proceedings leading to temporary adjournment
LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) a 14-day extension in the physical remand of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz and her cousin Yousuf Abbas in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.
Earlier, the two had been remanded into NAB custody following their arrest on August 8.
Amid strict security arrangements, the duo was presented in court, where judge Naeem Arshad heard NAB’s request for a 15-day extension in their physical remand.
During the proceedings, NAB’s lawyer said that the investigations with Maryam had not yet been completed and requested an extension in remand for that purpose. In response, Maryam’s lawyer Advocate Amjad Pervez said that the investigation had been carried out in all cases and the trial had been completed.
Earlier, the judge expressed displeasure at selfies being taken with the PML-N leader in the courtroom. The court also experienced a power outage during the proceeding. The noise created by party workers affected the proceedings, following which the judge left the courtroom and went to his chambers.
Proceedings were temporarily adjourned.
As proceedings resumed, the judge granted NAB 14-day physical remand and ordered that the two be presented before it on September 4.
Ahead of Wednesday’s court appearance, strict security arrangements were made. Containers and barbed wires were used to close routes towards the judicial complex and a large contingent of female police were stationed inside and outside the court.
Various PML-N leaders also arrived at the accountability court including Khurram Dastgir Khan, Hina Pervez Butt, Saiful Malook Khokhar, Barjees Tahir, Parvaiz Rasheed, Muhammad Zubair, Nehal Hashmi and Rana Muhammad Iqbal.
Maryam’s husband Capt (r) Mohammad Safdar Awan and son Junaid Safdar were also in the courtroom.
Maryam had appeared before NAB on July 31 to record her statement in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills reference. The statement was regarding ‘dubious’ business transactions of the CSM of which she was one of the major shareholders.
According to NAB, in January 2018, the PML-N government’s financial monitoring unit had reported to NAB a huge suspicious transaction involving billions of rupees in Chaudhry Sugar Mills under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Sources further confirmed that a NAB inquiry started in October 2018 and detected that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shehbaz Sharif and the family of the late Abbas Sharif are shareholders in the company, along with some foreigners hailing from the UAE and UK.
“Huge investments were made in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills from 2001 to 2017 of billions of rupees in the name of the foreigners by issuing shares in the millions to them. Later on, the same shares of the company were transferred back to Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif at various times without paying any consideration, which led to the conclusion that names of foreigners were used as proxies to make huge investments in the company for the reason that Sharif family did not have white money for investment,” a source claimed.
NAB had re-summoned Maryam on August 8, and asked her to provide details of her shareholdings in CSM, details of financial relations with the foreign nationals in question — Saeed Said bin Jabar al Suweidi, a UAE national; Sheikh Zakauddin, a UK national; Hani Ahmad Jamjoon, a Saudi national; and Naseer Abdullah Lootah, a UAE national.
She was also asked to provide details of remittances/telegraphic transfers sent and received by her from abroad.
However, she had excused herself from appearing and had gone to meet Nawaz in jail instead.
On August 8, she was taken into custody by NAB from Kot Lakhpat Jail, where she had been visiting her incarcerated father.
Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir had on July 6 last year convicted Nawaz and Maryam in the Avenfield properties reference and sentenced them to 10 years and seven years imprisonment, respectively.
The Islamabad High Court, however, had suspended the sentence and released Maryam.