Pakistan: Jailed Sharif appears before accountability-court in remaining graft cases
Pakistan's jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today appeared before the Islamabad-based Accountability Court hearing two graft cases (Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment cases) against him and his family. Sharif was brought to the court in a black vehicle instead of a traditional armored vehicle to dodge the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers who surrounded the armored vehicle and chanted slogans.
The 68-year-old PML-N party leader, along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz, 44, and his son-in-law Capt (retd.) Muhammad Safdar, 54, are already serving jail terms of 10 years, seven years, and one year respectively in the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. An Accountability Court had convicted them on July 6 over the family's ownership of four luxury flats in London.
The pending corruption cases against Sharif and his two sons, Hassan and Hussian, were transferred by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on August 7 on an application of Sharif to another Accountability Court headed by Judge Arshad Malik. Three corruption cases were filed against Sharif and family last year following a decision by Supreme Court on July 28 of the same year.
The formal trial of the Sharif family started on September 14, 2017, and was to be completed in six months but later the deadline was extended at least thrice. The court has already declared the two sons as absconders due to their persistent failure to appear before the court. They have been blacklisted by the authorities, barring them from traveling on their Pakistani passports.
The ownership of the four London flats by Sharif family surfaced in Panama Papers in April 2016, indicating that the posh properties were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif's children. Panama Papers cases were launched on September 8, 2016, following the Supreme Court verdict of July 28 that disqualified Sharif as Prime Minister and ordered the NAB to probe cases against him.