ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday refuted a claim made by a journalist who had alleged the anti-graft watchdog was preparing a case to seek cancellation of bail of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz.
“This is absolutely baseless, concocted and no truth in this tweet. This is part of a malicious campaign against NAB. Media is requested to kindly avoid speculations and confirm any news related to NAB from Spokesman NAB before airing/publishing,” said a NAB spokesperson.
However, the NAB spokesman did not totally rule out the NABs decision in this regard.
The spokesperson said that the Executive Board Meeting will be held under the chairmanship of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal on Thursday in which various inquires, investigations and corruption references will be discussed and authorised after due diligence and collective wisdom as per law. The spokesperson did not offer any hint that a decision with regard to Maryam’s bail cancellation may be taken in the EBM sitting.
Absar Alam, the journalist in question, had posted a tweet claiming that NAB Chairman Justice (r) Iqbal had directed the body to prepare a case for cancellation of Maryam’s bail.
“BREAKING: NAB has been instructed (by you-know-who) to prepare case for Maryam Nawaz’s bail cancellation. Chairman NAB, Javed Iqbal, himself dictated the draft to DG Operation, Zahir Shah,” he said in the tweet.
A bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had granted bail to Maryam Nawaz on December 6, 2019, after her arrest on August 8, 2019, in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case.
The PML-N leader had been ordered to furnish two surety bonds, each worth Rs10 million, deposit an additional Rs70million and surrender her passport to secure her release.
“Since the prosecution has shown the bank statement of the […] petitioner in which on 28.11.2011 […] Rs7 crores were withdrawn and the prosecution has apprehension of fleeing away of the petitioner, therefore, to satisfy our judicial conscience we would pass a conditional order,” said the court’s written order, granting Maryam bail.
Maryam had approached the high court on September 30 seeking post-arrest bail in the CSM case.
Following the sudden deterioration in the health of her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, she then filed a miscellaneous petition on October 24 seeking immediate bail on the basis of fundamental rights and humanitarian reasons. On October 29, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended her father’s sentence in the Al-Azizia case for eight weeks.
Maryam and her cousin Yousuf Abbas were arrested by NAB on August 8, 2019, in the CSM case. Later, on September 25, they were sent to jail on judicial remand by an accountability court in Lahore.
The accountability watchdog suspects Maryam of involvement in money laundering through investments of large amounts while being the main shareholder of the CSM. It has alleged that she was involved in money laundering with the help of foreigners during the period 1992-93 when Nawaz was the prime minister.
Maryam was convicted last year for abetment by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Her sentence was later suspended by the IHC.