Pakistani anti-corruption court indicts ousted Nawaz Sharif, his daughter

Danny Woods
October 20, 2017

The state minister was speaking during the appearance of Maryam Nawaz in an accountability court where she was indicted along with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a corruption reference case.

Sharif's daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who in recent months had become a senior leadership figure in the family's political party, was also indicted, along with her husband, Muhammad Safdar. Maryam, who attended the hearing in Islamabad, pleaded not guilty and blasted the court's decision afterwards.

The Accountability Court adjourned hearing of "Flagship investment" reference till tomorrow where charges will be framed against Nawaz Sharif.

The court had exempted Sharif from appearing on October 9, but fixed Oct 13 for his indictment.

In July this year, Sharif was forced to resign as Pakistan's prime minister after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over Panama Papers leak.

Sharif said there was no precedent for indicting someone in his absence.

A Sharif representative entered a not guilty plea for the sacked premier, who is now in London with his wife Kulsoom as she undergoes cancer treatment.

The charges stem from a trove of documents, known as the Panama Papers, that investigators say showed the family held unreported assets overseas.

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"We are not the ones to be afraid of arrests", she said.

The court indicted the Sharif family members in the London properties reference today even though Nawaz Sharif and lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris are both out of the country.

Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, right front passenger in vehicle, arrives at an accountability court in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.

The NAB has in the past been described as toothless because of its low conviction rates, especially when it comes to powerful politicians, and investigations that last many years.

But long before he was forced out by the Supreme Court, the military had the upper hand yet again.

He said to this effect, an SOP has been developed in consultation with the court. "Their policy will be either to prolong the case by agitation, which is not likely, and the other is to change the law to avoid the conviction", said Askari.

He said the PML-N would "definitely lose seats" in the upcoming election, adding "this situation has definitely increased chances for Imran Khan".

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