Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, daughter, son-in-law indicted on corruption charges
Karachi: Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been indicted on corruption charges stemming from leaked documents known as the Panama Papers. An accountability court on Thursday indicted Sharif, as well as his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar, said media reports. A lawyer for Sharif, who is currently in London, where his wife is receiving medical treatment, entered a plea of not guilty.
The former prime minister’s daughter Maryam Sharif and her husband, Mohammad Safdar, attended the hearing and also pleaded not guilty. The proceedings were headed by Justice Muhammad Bashir.
The charges stem from a trove of documents leaked from a Panama law firm that investigators say showed the family held unreported assets overseas. The family has denied any wrongdoing.
Maryam Sharif again denied the allegations as “baseless” after exiting the courtroom. She said her father would return to Pakistan and that they would “face these cases with courage.” The former prime minister is unlikely to be arrested on his return home as the court has already granted bail.
The Sharif family has the option to challenge the court’s decision within two weeks however following the indictment a further probe will be initiated.
A senior leader of his party, the Pakistan Muslim League, said “we knew justice would not be done.” Rana Sanaullah said there were “hidden hands” behind Sharif’s dismissal and the spate of corruption allegations.
Sharif was re-elected as party leader earlier this month after parliament approved a bill allowing officials disqualified by courts to hold party offices.
In July this year, the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a member of the National Assembly in the Panama Papers leak case. The court had also disqualified Pakistan’s finance minister Ishaq Dar from office. In the wake of Supreme Court’s judgment, Nawaz Sharif had resigned as prime minister of Pakistan.
Following a high-level investigation, the Supreme Court had found Sharif and his family members possessing assets in excess of the known sources of income. It had ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file case against Nawaz Sharif and his children within six weeks.
The NAB had filed three cases of corruption and money laundering against Nawaz Sharif, his family members and Ishaq Dar in the accountability court.
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