Pakistan’s anti-corruption body on Friday petitioned the High Court against the accountability court’s order to release former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Captain Muhammad Safdar (retd) on bail after he was taken into custody on October 9. Safdar was held upon his arrival from London at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport in the capital, where he was set to appear before the accountability court in connection with a NAB corruption reference, following the issuance of a non-bailable arrest warrant for his absence in earlier hearings, Dawn online reported. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) asked the Islamabad High Court to suspend the accountability court’s order to release Safdar on bail after he furnished surety bonds worth Rs 5 million.
The NAB prosecutor general, making Safdar and the accountability court judge party in the petition, challenged the decision to release Maryam Nawaz’s husband requesting he be sent to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on judicial remand. The NAB petition maintained that an order to release the suspect can only be passed by the Supreme Court and that the accountability court should have sent Captain Safdar to jail. The petition came days after Sindh lawmakers lambasted the NAB’s “double standards” in its dealing with members of the Sharif family and others.
The Sharifs are facing trial in connection with references filed by the NAB pertaining to their Avenfield properties in London, the Azizia Steel Mills as well as another 16 offshore companies. The three accused — the former Prime Minister, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law pleaded not guilty to the charges. Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were named co-accused in the chargesheet in the corruption references. Sharif and his sons were named in all three NAB references while Maryam Nawaz and Safdar were named only in the London reference.