Maryam’s passport not required, NAB tells LHC

LAHORE (Agencies): The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday that it did not require PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz’s passport that she had surrendered to the court for getting bail in a case.
The accountability watchdog had previously opposed the petition seeking the return of Maryam’s passport, which she had surrendered to the court when post-arrest bail was granted to her in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.
However, the bureau conveyed to the court today that it no longer needed the PML-N leader’s passport. The anti-graft watchdog submitted the reply to a full bench, which was constituted earlier this month after several judges recused themselves from hearing Maryam’s plea. The bench was headed by LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and comprised Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh.
The bench had sought the NAB’s reply in the case at the last hearing after Maryam’s counsel had contended that she had remained in the burea’s custody for 48 days but the anti-graft watchdog had failed to complete the investigation or file a reference before the trial court despite. He had also argued that Maryam willingly returned to Pakistan from the United Kingdom to serve her sentence in other NAB cases and had asked the court to return her passport so she could visit her ailing father, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, in London.
During hearing, Maryam’s counsel, Advocate Amjad Pervez, failed to appear before the court, with LHC CJ Bhatti expressing anger over his absence. Advocate Pervez’s subordinate lawyer informed the court that he was at another court.
“I have informed him. He will be arriving soon,” the junior lawyer told the LHC bench.
Irked by this, Justice Bhatti questioned whether Advocate Pervez did not know which court he was supposed to appear before first. The court then adjourned the hearing on Maryam’s plea till October 3. In her petition, Maryam contended that it was a known fact that her father, Nawaz, was allowed to go abroad on account of his critical health condition.
She claimed that her father had not regained his health so far as he was still undergoing diagnosis process as per a medical report filed in the court, duly attested by the Pakistan High Commission in London. She submitted that despite absence of any charge sheet against her or trial, she had not been able to exercise her fundamental rights for about four years on account of surrendering her passport in compliance with the court order. The PML-N leader pleaded that she was in dire need to go abroad to attend to and inquire after her ailing father. She asked the court to direct the deputy registrar (judicial) to return her passport in the interest of justice.