Caretakers to initiate confiscation of Avenfield apartments | Pakistan Today

Caretakers to initiate confiscation of Avenfield apartments

–Barrister Farogh Nasim highlights on legal options left with Sharifs

–Justice Wajih says Sharifs can’t file for protective bail, their only option is to file an appeal seeking suspension of judgment

ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Law Barrister Ali Zafar on Friday said the federal government would initiate the process for the confiscation of Avenfield apartments to implement the accountability court in letter and spirit, adding that the process would commence from Monday when the offices in London will open.

Talking to Pakistan Today, the minister said the federal government would initiate the process on Monday. “We will have to apply for the confiscation of Avenfield apartments in line with the court verdict. We will have to move immediately, so the accused are not able to get a stay order from any court in London against the court verdict,” he added.

Asked whether the federal government would also move to bring back Nawaz Sharif, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Ishaq Dar and other accused, the minister said the federal government would make contacts with Interpol to bring back all the accused.

“We would have to implement the verdict and we will move on Monday. Bringing back Pakistani nationals is easy but for a foreign national, the procedure is bit complex and also would take time.”

On whether the federal government would oppose any effort by the Sharif family to seek bail from the court, Ali Zafar said the NAB would oppose any bail plea if the accused file it.

PROTECTIVE BAIL PLEA:

Law expert Barrister Farogh Nasim said that the Sharif family may move a protective bail plea which is an option for Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz after being convicted.

“I remember in a similar past case with PPP’s former Chairwoman Benazir Bhutto, the then SC judge Justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui had allowed protective bail for Benazir Bhutto while she was abroad and after being sentenced, she wanted to come back and the bail was allowed,” he said.

He said such bails were also offered to some other politicians too in past. He said even Rao Anwar was given protective bail while former president Pervez Musharraf was also accorded a protective bail.

“Sharif family can file an appeal through pleader but they would have to come back to file it. The sentence can be suspended if the merit of the judgment can be questioned along with justification. But prima facie they don’t have any evidence to get the verdict suspended as they have failed to provide the money trail for the past two years or so”.

Justice (r) Wajihuddin, however, disagreed that Sharifs could file for protective bail.

“A convicted person can’t file for protective bail. They can only file an appeal against the judgment and seek suspension of the verdict,” he said.

He was of the opinion that the accused had only one option left with them and that was to return to Pakistan and file an appeal with the high court seeking suspension of the accountability court sentence.

‘EXPECTED JUDGMENT’:

Talking about the merit of the judgment, Justice Wajih said the judgment was expected and was overdue too. “The matter was being heard for long enough. The judge provided ample to the accused to prove their innocence. They were given 109 hearings as the judge wanted to give them full chance to prove the defence. It was a fair trial but the accused failed to establish their innocence,” he concluded.

Asked whether Nawaz Sharif and Maryam would be arrested upon their return, the veteran jurist said that if they have fear of being arrested, the accused can file an appeal even before landing on Pakistani airport.

“Since the caretaker government has been nominated by none other than a prime minister of PML-N, Sharif would be taken care of the regime. After all the caretaker government was installed by none other than Nawaz Sharif’s own prime minister. Since the caretakers come with some commitments, there should be no fear at all,” he added.

Farogh Nasim said if the accused can prove merit of their appeal, they can get the judgment suspended only in a few days. “However, without providing any evidence that the judge had made any sound lacunae, they can’t get it suspended”.

The veteran lawyer said the federal government would have to initiate the procedure in a London court for the confiscation of Avenfield apartments before the British government moves in to claim the properties.

“So, the Government of Pakistan would have to initiate proceedings in British court immediately,” he added.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]



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