Plots’ allotment case: Nawaz politically victimised, says court


nawaz sharif

LAHORE: An accountability court in Lahore issued a detailed verdict regarding the acquittal of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a corruption case pertaining to the illegal allocation of plots in 1986.

According to the official order, it was found that proper procedure was not followed when declaring Sahrif a ‘proclaimed offender’ in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference.

The official order said that through this case, Sharif was subjected to ‘political victimization’. The anti-graft watchdog and revenue authorities have been directed to release the seized properties of Sharif and other individuals involved in the case.

During the tenure of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) in 2020, the reference was filed against Sharif and Jang Group owner Mir Shakil ur Rahman regarding the unlawful allotment of land in Block-H, Johar Town, Lahore in 1986.

The reference claimed that Rahman had illegally registered 54 one-kanal plots of land, disregarding the exemption policy and legal requirements, for monetary gains. It was alleged that Nawaz Sharif, who served as the chief minister of Punjab at that time, had facilitated the actions.

Sharif, had been declared as a proclaimed offender in the case for not appearing before the court repeatedly.

Sharif’s acquittal was declared by an accountability court last month in response to separate pleas filed by his relatives, who opposed the auction of his assets. Rahman had been acquitted in the case back in January 2022.

The written order from Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar, who previously delivered the verdict, said that to undermine the political future of Sharif, the former government forced anti-graft watchdog to initiate the reference against three-time prime minister.

According to the order, the correct procedure was not followed in declaring Sharif as a proclaimed offender as an individual can only be declared a proclaimed offender if the court was satisfied with the execution of warrants and the completion of all other formalities.

“In this case, the record is silent regarding who issued the warrants, publications or documents containing the material to inform the accused to appear before the court of law. This is a mandatory condition, otherwise, the entire proceedings become void and illegal,” the verdict stated.

The order further said that if the accused had already left the country before receiving any notice, summons, warrant, or legal proceedings to appear in court, then all the proceedings would be deemed illegal and void from the beginning.

The verdict also directed to release any properties that were seized in connection with the case stating that Sharif should receive the same relief that was granted to the main accused, Rehman, in the case.

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