An anti-corruption court on Thursday indicted Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain Mohammad Safdar over corruption allegations linked to ownership of London properties. The charges may see the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief getting jailed.
Judge Mohammad Bashir was set to indict the trio on October 13, but after a violent clash between the PML-N lawyers and police, the court postponed it until Thursday. The order of the the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court came even though Sharif and his counsel Khawaja Harris were out of the country. Sharif is presently in Britain, where his wife is undergoing cancer treatment.
The NAB had registered three cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his family members and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court. During the hearing on Thursday, all the three accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The court also rejected an application filed by Capt Safdar’s counsel Amjad Pervez, seeking an adjournment of the indictment proceedings. A second lawyer from Sharif’s legal team, Ayesha Hamid, sought a delay in the indictment until the Supreme Court decided on a petition filed by Sharif against the filing of multiple corruption references against him by NAB. The court rejected this application as well. However, the court reserved its decision on a third application, seeking a merger of the three references filed against Sharif.
Sharif, 67, resigned in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income that was revealed in the Panama Papers leaks. The Panama Papers showed that Sharif’s daughter and his two sons owned offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy posh flats in London. The Supreme Court had also ordered the NAB to investigate and conduct a trial.