Big legal victory for PMLN as IHC acquits Maryam Nawaz, Capt. Safdar in Avenfield reference

Maryam Nawaz Avenfield

Islamabad: In a big legal victory for the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday acquitted Maryam Nawaz and her husband, Captain (R) Safdar, in the Avenfield reference and nullified the conviction handed to them in 2018 by an accountability court.

Just ahead of the 2018 General Elections, an accountability court slapped Maryam Nawaz with a fine of £2 million and sentenced her to seven years in prison for being “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father” and one year for non-cooperation with NAB.

PMLN Supremo Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in jail for possessing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income, while Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar was handed down one-year rigorous imprisonment.

In August 2019, Maryam was arrested in the case while she was visiting her father in prison. Later, a local court granted bail in November 2019.

Maryam Nawaz had filed an appeal in the IHC through Advocate Irfan Qadir, challenging her conviction in the reference. She had termed the verdict “a classic example of outright violations of laws and political engineering hitherto unheard of in the history of Pakistan” in her petition.

A two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justices Aamer Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard Maryam’s plea against the conviction.

Speaking to media persons outside the IHC, Maryam Nawaz stood thankful to Allah for making Nawaz Sharif and her proud today.

She also thanked her legal team for fighting her case throughout the years.

Maryam further said no political leader in the history of the country has been through such stringent accountability as Nawaz. “He now has more respect than ever [after my acquittal].”

The PML-N vice president said despite Nawaz getting advisories to not face hearings in the Avenfield reference, not only he, but his children also faced trial.

She targeted Imran Khan and asked him what he would do now as he has been proven “a liar” and “a conspirator” while Nawaz has come out on top.

Congratulations to Mayam Beti: PM Shehabz

Soon after the verdict was announced by the IHC, Prime Minister Shehbaz congratulated Maryam Nawaz in a tweet.

He said that the “edifice of lies, slander and character assassination” had come crumbling down.

“Maryam’s acquittal in the Avenfield reference is a slap in the face of so-called accountability system that was employed to target the Sharif family,” he said.

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