The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has reserved the verdict on the petitions filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar against the sentences awarded to them in the Avenfield properties reference.
The National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) special prosecutor Mohammad Akram Qureshi concluded his final argument today, following which the high court announced that it will deliver the verdict at 3pm.
Qureshi argued today that after the fixation of appeals against the conviction of the Sharif family in Avenfield reference, the IHC could not have entertained petitions seeking suspension of sentence.
He further said that since Maryam had prepared the forged declaration of trust in order to rescue her father, "she was equally responsible as she connived to dodge the legal course".
When the court asked him if the forged documents had led to her conviction for owing assets beyond means, the prosecutor replied: "Maryam hatched the conspiracy".
Qureshi further argued that Maryam was living with father as a dependent and so "the properties in her name presumably belonged to her father".
Justice Athar Minallah remarked that "the NAB, after conducting thorough investigation, couldn't bring any evidence of ownership of Nawaz Sharif of Avenfield apartments, but you want us to admit his ownership on mere presumption."
Qureshi responded that the "law of evidence empowers the court to presume facts in certain situations."
The prosecutor was reminded that there is a room of giving the benefit of the doubt to the accused, and that the precedents of the apex court bound the bureau to follow certain procedures in order to shift the burden of proof on accused persons.
At this, Qureshi said that "since the properties belong to a foreign jurisdiction, therefore, it is a distinguished case and these were not applicable to this case".
Meanwhile, Khawaja Haris — the lead defence counsel — said that since the NAB law relates to foreign properties, the stance taken by NAB is without any legal force.