Maryam Nawaz again seeks to have passport returned

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday seeking her passport, which she had surrendered before the LHC deputy registrar after she had been granted post-arrest bail in Chaudhary Sugar Mills Limited (CSML) case.

Her petition filed through advocate Muhammad Amjad Pervaiz stated that “as per record,the inquiry was initiated on November 14, 2018, but no reference has been filed against the petitioner as of today despite a lapse of about four years."

It maintained that "the retention of the passport for an indefinite period tantamount to be violative of her fundamental rights of treatment in accordance with the law, life, liberty, right of movement and equal protection of the law”.

She contended that on August 8, 2019, when she was visiting her father at the Central Jail Lahore, she was arrested in an inquiry initiated by the National Accountability Bureau and was barred from completing her visit.

Maryam’s physical custody was remanded to an investigating officer for 48 days after being sent to judicial lockup. Ultimately, the petitioner was allowed post-arrest bail on merits by the LHC, the petition stated.

Read Punjab govt to downgrade Maryam’s security

Following the court’s order, it furthered that she surrendered her passport and deposited the required amount of Rs70 million.

She said in her petition that she was unable to exercise her fundamental rights for the last four years despite the absence of any charge sheet or trial, as she had surrendered her passport in compliance with the court’s order.

“There may not be any apprehension of abscondance or otherwise in view of the track record of the petitioner who notwithstanding a conviction order against her, voluntarily came back to Pakistan to surrender to the process of law while leaving behind her ailing mother on death bed," the petition added.

It added that as per the “settled principles of administration of criminal justice system as also fundamental rights due process and fair trial guaranteed, vide Article 10-A of the constitution, a presumption of innocence is imperative and even under trial [the] accused does not lose fundamental rights of treatment”.

Judges refuse to hear petition

Earlier, three judges had refused to hear the PML-N leader’s petition seeking her passport to travel to Saudi Arabia and perform Umrah.

The bench, headed by Justice Syed Shahbaz Ali Rizvi, had observed that the matter should be heard by the relevant bench which had already heard it and granted her post-arrest bail.

Read More Imran, other PTI leaders' bail extended in Sec 144 violation case

Later, another division bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi heard the plea. As the proceedings had commenced, Justice Najafi had said his colleague judge Justice Farooq Haider was not willing to hear this case owing to undisclosed reasons.

The case file was then sent to Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti with a request to place this matter before any bench.

Following this, another bench led by Justice Najafi heard the matter, but the second member Justice Asjad Javed Ghural was unwilling to hear the case, and thus it was sent to the LHC chief justice to be placed before another bench.

Finally, the petition was withdrawn by the petitioner.

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