ISLAMABAD (92 News) – The accountability court (AC) has today (Friday) indicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the third reference filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The former PM was indicted in the Flagship Companies Ltd reference in his absence. Maryam Nawaz, daughter of the former premier and her husband Captain (r) Safdar have already been indicted in Avenfield Reference by the accountability court yesterday.
The Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir resumed hearing of the reference.
During the proceedings, the judge read the charges against Nawaz Sharif, which were being heard by his counsel, Zafir Khan.
The court also declared Sharif’s sons proclaimed offenders for not appearing before the court.
On behalf of the former PM Zafir his counsel pleaded 'not guilty' to the charges.
The court later adjourned the haring until October 26.
On Thursday, Nawaz was also indicted in the Azizia Steel Mills reference as well as in the Avenfield properties reference.
The charges stem from revelations contained in the Panama Papers that Sharif family members owned expensive residential properties in London that were not properly reported under Pakistani disclosure rules.
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. Two sons who were mentioned in the Panama Papers were not indicted.
The criminal indictment, brought by an anticorruption court that took up the case on orders from the Supreme Court, is the latest blow to a politician who served three terms as prime minister and helped define the country’s political mainstream.
Sharif’s latest stint in office began with a strong election showing in 2013, as he promised to take on the country’s all-powerful military establishment and moved to impose civilian authority in areas long run by the generals, including foreign policy.
While some Pakistani politicians have hailed the court rulings as bold moves to fight corruption and impunity for the powerful, Sharif’s supporters insist that the judiciary was overstepping its role and was carrying out a political vendetta on behalf of the military and Sharif’s rivals.
The Panama Papers, documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm that catered to the world’s wealthy and powerful, revealed that three of Sharif’s children controlled shell companies through which they owned expensive residential properties in London. The revelations set off political turmoil and ultimately led the Supreme Court to disqualify him from office and order a criminal investigation into his behavior.
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