Maryam gets her passport back in corruption case

LAHORE: Maryam Nawaz, vice president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has won a legal bid to reclaim her passport surrendered to the high court of Lahore in 2019 while seeking bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) graft case.

During the hearing of a petition moved by Nawaz for the recovery of the travel document, a full bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed its deputy registrar for judicial affairs to return the passport to the de facto PML-N boss.

The bench was headed by Muhammad Ameer Bhatti, the chief justice, and comprised justices Ali Baqar Najafi and Tariq Saleem Sheikh.

The development comes less than a week after the high court of Islamabad overturned the conviction of Nawaz and her husband retired Capt. Muhammad Safdar in the Avenfield House apartments case.

At the previous hearing on September 27, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told the high court it did not require Nawaz’s passport. It also did not deny the contention made in her petition regarding the Supreme Court judgments wherein it had been held that registration of criminal cases could not deprive a citizen of exercising constitutional rights.

During Monday’s hearing, a deputy attorney general representing Islamabad and a NAB lawyer told the court that neither the federal government nor the dirty money watchdog had any objections to returning the passport.

The reference mainly accused Nawaz of being involved in money laundering under the garb of sale and purchase of the sugar mills’ shares. It said she had become the largest shareholder of the mills in 2008, having over 12 million shares and her assets had been found disproportionate to her income.

It said the unit was shifted from Gojra to Rahim Yar Khan in 2015 at a cost of Rs1.5 billion and this amount had not so far been justified by the suspects.

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