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Avenfield Apartments: IHC accepts Sharif family’s plea

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday accepted Sharif family’s plea while directing authorities concerned to make sure presence of representative of the petitioner during examination of witnesses at the Pakistan High Commission in London regarding Avenfield Apartments.

A division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb partially allowed the plea after hearing the arguments placed by the petitioners counsel Muhammad Amjad Pervaiz.

The bench was of the view that plea of the petitioners was based on justice and appropriate and their representative should be present at the time of recording testimony.

The accountability court on February 2, allowed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to record statements of two witnesses of prosecution via video link at the Pakistan High Commission in London in the supplementary reference against Sharif family.

On Thursday hearing, Amjad Pervaiz took the stance that in a criminal trial the attendance of the witnesses before a court was necessary unless the same was dispensed with subject to the conditions mentioned in Section-503 Cr P C.

As per the declaration attached with the expert report, the witness Robert M Radley, the Principal at the Radley Forensic Document Laboratory, declared that he may attend the court for cross examination and he had not made his attendance conditional.

Pervaiz alleged that impugned order was also violation of fundamental right of access to justice, treatment in accordance with law, due process and fair trial guaranteed vid Article 10 (A) of the constitution, to my clients.

The counsel requested the court to declare impugned order dated February, 2 as illegal, without lawful authority and the same be set aside. In alternative, the order should be modified with directions for adequate representation of the petitioners during examination of witnesses at the High Commission of London in the interest of justice, he prayed the court.

NAB Deputy Prosecutor, Sardar Muzaffar objected and said accused was using delay tactics as the witnesses already cleared that they would be only available between February 2 to February 6. However, after going through the arguments, the bench remarked that petitioners deserve treatment in accordance with law and fair trial guaranteed vid Article 10 (A) of the constitution and partially allowed PML-N leaders plea and directed respondents to make sure presence of the petitioner’s representation in High Commission London. NNI

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