Home Global Village Who owns the three-Avenfield flats? A fictional court answers – Raja Waqas...

Who owns the three-Avenfield flats? A fictional court answers – Raja Waqas Shabbir


Raja Waqas Shabbir |

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s bail jubilated his supporters. Their opponents, the PTI’s reaction remains divided, some firmly believe that the law will take its course, while others lashed out, and ridiculed the judicial system exactly as PML-N did when Nawaz was incarcerated after Avenfield verdict. One of the interesting arguments between the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Akram Qureshi and the Justice Athar Minallah of IHC reflects the notion and the rationale for releasing Nawaz. The argument took place as under.

NAB Prosecutor asserts: “Maryam was living with her father [Nawaz] as a dependent and so “the properties in her name presumably belonged to her father.” Justice Athar Minallah responds: “Since NAB could not prove that Nawaz owns the Avenfield apartments, & you [NAB] want us to admit his ownership on mere presumption”.

A top class Italian job, using a team of high-class legal and financial experts, and front men without leaving a trace of the transfers making it difficult to prove.

It sums up everything nicely for us. Muhammad Bashir’s Accountability Court did not receive the desired money trail—which led to the purchase of the properties. NAB prosecutor argued that since Nawaz admitted the ownership of properties, the burden of proof lies on him. On the contrary, Justice Athar Minallah said, “Burden of proof is not on Nawaz, NAB apparently failed to prove that Nawaz has any direct relation with the ownership of the Avenfield properties.” Neither Nawaz nor NAB have the proofs of the ownership of Avenfield apartments.

Nawaz’s bail apparently proved that it does not matter if millions of people across the country term the ‘Sharif family’ corrupt. Prior to July 25, General Elections 2018, even Nawaz supporters happily and proudly admitted, so what, if he is corrupt. At least, “Khata ha tu lagata bi tu hai”. The 56-Punjab companies set up by the PML-N government are under investigations.

Read more: The real owner of Avenfield Apartments: Hussain Nawaz or Maryam Safdar?

The allegations of purposely pursuing the mega projects for kickbacks has credence after the revelations in Ashiana Housing society, Multan Metro and Saaf Paani company scams.  The “Sharif family”—which continued its business simultaneously compromised the conflict of interest, ever since it embarked its political journey in the 1980’s.

It accumulated the money through corruption/embezzlement, transfers on the name(s) of minors, through a complex set of companies after channelizing it through multiple jurisdictions. A top class Italian job, using a team of high-class legal and financial experts, and front men without leaving a trace of the transfers making it difficult to prove.

These three-flats were bought with my poor father’s money after he migrated from India. A perplexed reporter sitting in the court murmured slowly, what presumption?

After the Panama revelations, pressure tactics from PTI’s chairman Imran Khan worked & the family admitted to the ownership of property in public. The national legal system relies on evidence & in this case, there is apparently none. Legal debate remains on whom does the burden of the proof lie. It clearly favors Nawaz, if one adheres by Justice AM’s version & goes against Nawaz if one considers NAB’s argument.

If one sketches a fictional trial based on the facts gathered from previous statements of the family, an argument between Justice Athar and NAB prosecutor Qureshi, this is how the Sharif family would have argued the case in Justice Athar Minallah’s court. Maryam Nawaz: “Kahan sa nikal kar la aein hain yeh properties, meri tu London mein kya, Pakistan mein bi koi property nai ha. Mein tu apnay Waalad ka saath rehti hon.”

Read more: Nawaz requests court to hear closing arguments of Avenfield, Al-Azizia, Flagship…

NAB Prosecutor challenges the statement: Maryam was living with her father as a dependent and so “the properties in her name presumably belonged to her father.” Justice Athar Minallah abruptly concludes after fixing the dates for appeals against the Avenfield conviction: “You [NAB] want us to admit his [Nawaz] ownership on mere presumption”.

Shahbaz Sharif: Grandchildren inherited wealth from their grandfather. These three-flats were bought with my poor father’s money after he migrated from India. A perplexed reporter sitting in the court murmured slowly, what presumption? Who set up the companies in Panama to dodge the regulators? Did Maryam not own some of these companies?

NAB Prosecutor, Sharif family admitted the ownership on national TV and in Parliament, therefore, these properties belong to Nawaz and he has to prove their ownership.

Hang on a second. Maryam Nawaz overheard him [the reporter] and repeated; “Kahan sa nikal kar la aein hain yeh properties, meri tu London mein kya Pakistan mein bi koi property nai ha. Mein tu apnay Waalad ka saath rehti hon.”

Meanwhile, a political novice Hassan Nawaz objected to the ownership accusations: I live in a rented apartment. My dad [Nawaz] sends me money every month to pay for it & I don’t know the owner. Hussain Nawaz refuted his brother’s arguments and responded, my brother liked these apartments so much that we decided to buy the flats in 2006.

Reporter: Did the Sharif family not buy these flats in the early 1990’s, when the wealth chart showed an upward trajectory? Did they not hold party meetings regularly in London Avenfield apartments? Hussain continues Alhumdolilah, Avenfield apartment’s hamarain hain.

Read more: The inside pictures of extravagant Avenfield Apartments

NAB Prosecutor, Sharif family admitted the ownership on national TV and in Parliament, therefore, these properties belong to Nawaz and he has to prove their ownership. Judge AM: “You [NAB] want us to admit his ownership on mere presumption”. Period!

Waqas Shabbir is a Derby Business School graduate in Finance, currently working as a freelance writer. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.