Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Sunday directed an anti-corruption court to wind up within a month proceeding against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
Three cases were launched against Sharif, 68, and his family members in September last year post his disqualification as the premier by the Supreme Court in July.
The court had also set a six-month deadline to complete the cases but later extended it by two months in March and then again by a month in May, which finally ended on Saturday. However, the Islamabad-based Accountability Court judge Muhammad Bashir today requested for more time to complete the trial.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar rejected Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris’ petition for completing the trial in six weeks, ordering that the final verdict in the case be announced within a month. He also asked the trial court to proceed on daily basis and conduct hearing even on Saturdays.
But, in a relief to Sharif, the court allowed him and his daughter Maryam to visit his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz in London where she is battling a throat cancer. The Accountability Court is hearing the corruption cases against Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law captain (retd) Safdar.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed three cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his sons – Hassan and Hussain, daughter -Maryam, son-in-law – Safdar, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the Accountability Court in Islamabad and Rawalpindi last year.
The Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif last year, forcing the three-time prime minister to resign. Sharif has dismissed the corruption charges as politically motivated. The political future of Sharif, who leads the country’s most powerful political family and his PML-N party, has been hanging in the balance since then. If convicted, he could be jailed.