Maryam withdraws request for return of passport

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz withdrew a petition filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) for the return of her passport so that she could travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimage.

A special division bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi took up the petition.

During the hearing, Maryam’s counsel, Amjad Pervez, informed the court that the PML-N leader wished to withdraw her request. Subsequently, the court disposed of the petition.

Nawaz’s withdrawal comes after no less than four benches were formed to hear the petition due to judges recusing themselves one after the other.

Last week, the first bench — comprising Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi and Justice Anwarul Haq Pannun — had observed that the petition should be heard by the same bench, headed by Justice Najafi, that had granted bail to the petitioner before recusing itself.

A bench comprising Justice Najafi and Justice Farooq Haider had then issued notices on Maryam’s petition on Monday. But Justice Haider recused himself from the matter when the petition came for hearing on Tuesday.

LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti then constituted a bench comprising Justice Najafi and Justice Asjad Javed Ghural to hear the petition. However, Justice Ghural also recused himself from the matter when the bench assembled to take up the petition.

The bench then sent the case file back to the chief justice for its fixing before any other appropriate bench after which a division bench comprising Justice Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem took up the petition on Wednesday (today).

Former information minister and PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said the general impression of the LHC over cases related to the Sharif family was “negative”, adding that the chief justice should keep that in mind.

“Judges are constantly not hearing Maryam’s cases,” he had said on Twitter.

A bench comprising Justice Najafi and Justice Haider had granted post-arrest bail to Maryam in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case on Nov 4, 2019.

However, the bench had ordered her to surrender her passport as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) feared she could flee the country.

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