ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, on Tuesday said she has been 'dragged' into the corruption cases filed against her and her family to be taught a lesson and to force her father to cower.
"I answered 127 questions presented by an accountability court hearing the Avenfield reference ," Maryam said while addressing a press conference at Punjab House, Islamabad.
The Avenfield reference , pertaining to the Sharifs' London properties, is among three filed against the family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court's directives.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader said her name was not mentioned in the April 2017 verdict but she was later implicated in the JIT investigation.
Maryam went on to say that she was "dragged into the case [Avenfield reference]" owing to "teach a lesson mindset".
"Despite not figuring anywhere in the Supreme Court judgment dated April 20, 2017, the reason I was dragged into the case finds its origin in ‘will teach a lesson’ mindset that has threatened, harassed and victimised those who refuse to accept the excesses, those who had the courage to stand up to injustice and those who have dared to question the rotten, entrenched practice of bringing elected prime ministers to their knees, on one pretext or the other, be it religion, corruption or even ‘ghaddari’," she said while reading out a part of her statement recorded before the accountability court.
Reading out the second part of her statement, Maryam said, "I, like my father, know why I was named in this case.
I am not involved in any corrupt practices or any theft," she added.
Questioning why she has to appear again and again in court, the former premier's daughter said, "I have appeared before the court more than 70 and the case is still going on."
"I know why I am being kept away from my mother who is suffering from cancer and I also know that in Pakistan's 70 year history no woman has ever appeared before the court these many times," she continued.
"My only fault is that I am Nawaz Sharif 's daughter. My only fault is that I like other brave women of this country and stand firmly with my father. My only fault is that I think my father is right," Maryam asserted.
She further continued that she was named in the case to pressurise her father. "They are aware of the sensitive relationship between a father and daughter."
"They [conspirators] named me in the case to make my father cower before them," the PML-N leader added.
Nawaz Sharif is the one who refused to surrender before any hardship, who refused to resign when guns took aim at him, he refused the whole world's pressure and made Pakistan a nuclear power and he is the one who bravely suffered every atrocity committed against him by Pervez Musharraf, she continued.
"They [perpetrators] knew that when a case would be formed against his [Nawaz] daughter, she will be dragged to court and any father would succumb to the pressure than watch his daughter go through that," she said.
However, Maryam asserted, "The people who think like this neither know Nawaz Sharif nor his daughter."
"My father is struggling for the welfare of the people of Pakistan and to protect their right to vote and democracy,” she said.
"I am my father's strength not his weakness," Maryam said while vowing that she will not let her "father’s head bow down".
At the last hearing of the accountability court on Monday, Maryam denied being the beneficial owner of London flats and offshore companies Nielsen and Nescoll while testifying before the court. Maryam remarked that she never took any financial advantage from these companies. Moreover, she shared that she has nothing to do with 25% shares of Gulf Steel Mills, Al-Taufiq case, and settlement worth Rs12 million.
Hussain Nawaz is owner of London flats, Maryam tells court
Maryam said that the Capital FZE documents don't concern her, adding that the documents were submitted with ‘despicable purposes’.
During court proceedings, Maryam remarked that the letters which were used as evidence against Sharif family cannot be made part of court records. The two letters she mentioned include one which was submitted by Joint Investigation Team Head Wajid Zia on July 3, 2017, and other by Mossack Fonseca dated June 22, 2012.
While referring to the JIT letter, she explained that the way letter was sent to JIT was quite suspicious and not according to the law. “There is no truth in letter attained from the private firm."
Moreover, with regards to the Mossack Fonseca letter, she shared that she was denied the right to cross-examine the witness who penned down the letter.
Nawaz facing trial owing to his children's greed: Fawad Chaudhry
Reacting to Maryam's presser, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Fawad Chaudhry alleged that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is under trial owing to his children’s greed to gather money.
Speaking to Geo News, Chaudhry said, "Maryam is not in court because of Nawaz but Nawaz is in court because of her.”
“Nawaz’s children kept Rs300 billion in foreign accounts and it is his children’s greed that has brought him to court,” he added.
“His [Nawaz] children crossed all limits of gathering money which is why the whole family is facing trials today,” the PTI leader continued.
Refuting Maryam’s statement that she has been ‘dragged’ into the Avenfield reference to pressurise her father to cower, Chaudhry said, “Maryam is being made to appear before court because she and her father embezzled money from the national exchequer.”
“Maryam is a habitual liar and has no difficulty in lying,” he asserted.
"First, she claimed that she has no properties in London or Pakistan and then later admitted that she owns property worth over Rs1.25 billion," he added.
The PTI leader further alleged that Maryam submitted 22 fake deeds in court.
“If the Supreme Court had applied the same laws that are applied on a common man then she would be facing a seven-year jail terms for submitting fake deeds,” he upheld.