Vastavam web: Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law were indicted today by an anti-graft court in a corruption case related to the Avenfield property in London.The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had registered three cases of corruption and money laundering against 67- year-old Sharif, his family members and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court in Islamabad on September 8.Sharif is in London with his ailing wife Kulsoom, who is suffering from throat cancer and has undergone three surgeries so far.
Maryam and Safdar were present in the court during today’s hearing.All three accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to a court official.The defence team also argued that head of Sharif’s legal team Harris was out of country due to an emergency and in his absence Sharif should not be indicted. But the court rejected the application after hearing the argument.The second lawyer from Sharif’s legal team, Ayesha Hamid, filed an application seeking a delay in the indictment until the apex court decides on a petition filed by Sharif against the filing of multiple corruption references against him by NAB. The court rejected this application as well.During the proceedings, the judge thrice stopped hearing and went to his chamber to contemplate on the different applications.
Sharif’s family alleges that the cases are politically motivated.Maryam, in informal chat with reporters, said that it was for the first time that “Sicilian mafia” was appearing in the court. She was referring to a term used against Sharif and his family by the Supreme Court bench which disqualified him.”Injustice and atrocities cannot continue together,” she told reporters outside the court.
She said that her party is still united despite the differences of opinion.Sharif was re-elected as the president of the PML-N on October 3 and immediately demanded that those who disqualified him should respect the people’s mandate.During the hearing on October 9, the court had decided to separate the trial of Sharif’s sons – Hussain and Hassan – from Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law.It had also ordered to start the process of declaring Sharif’s sons proclaimed offender for failing to appear before the court.
The anti-graft body NAB had frozen the bank accounts and seized properties of Sharif and his family members to put pressure on them to appear before the court.During his first tenure, Sharif developed serious differences with conservative president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who dissolved the National Assembly using his powers in April 1993. In July, Sharif resigned under pressure from the army.His second term as Prime Minister from 1997 ended in 1999 when then powerful Army Chief Pervez Musharraf carried out a bloodless coup.