Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's indictment in graft cases postponed by a week

World Monday 02/October/2017 18:12 PM
By: Times News Service
Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's indictment in graft cases postponed by a week

Islamabad: Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday appeared before an anti-corruption court for the second time in a week but his indictment was postponed till October 9 as his children, who are also been named in the high-profile Panama Papers case, failed to appear in court.
Sharif's sons Hussain and Hassan and his daughter Maryam are co-defendants in the Panama Papers case and are currently in London with their mother Kulsoom, who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer.
Sharif, 67, got a brief reprieve when the Accountability Court decided to postpone his indictment till October 9. Sharif and his children Hussain, Hassan and Maryam; and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar - are now expected to appear on October 9 to be formally indicted.
Sharif could be jailed after the indictment. Sharif had earlier appeared before the accountability court on September 26, a day after returning from London. Sharif's family has alleged that the cases against them are politically motivated.
Earlier, amidst tight security, Sharif arrived at the court for the hearing in three graft cases against him and his family. During the hearing, his lawyer Khawaja Haris argued that all of the accused in the case have to appear in court before an indictment can take place.
Harris had contended that since Sharif's children were in London to take care of their ailing mother, arrest warrants should not be issued. But the court refused and issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the men and a bailable warrant for Maryam, likely keeping in mind that she may need to stay with her mother in London.
Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, a leader of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told the media after the hearing that lasted for more than an hour that the indictment has been postponed.
"The indictment is still pending and it would be discussed at the next hearing on Monday (October 9)," he said.
Ranjah said that Maryam and her husband Muhammad Safdar are ready to come back to the county from London and will appear in the court in the next hearing. He said the defence did not press the issue of Sharif's exemption from appearing in the court. His lawyer asked the court on the last hearing that Sharif needed to take care of his wife in London so he would be allowed to skip personal appearance in the court.
Lawyer Shahab Sarki said that Sharif's children now needed protected or transitory bail to avoid arrest after they would land in Pakistan from London. Heavy security arrangement made around the judicial complex created unpleasant situation when Sharif’s supporters and several cabinet ministers, including Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, were not allowed to enter the court premises.

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The Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif on July 28 in the Panama Papers case and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file corruption and money laundering charges against the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
The NAB has filed cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his family members and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the Accountability Court in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The anti-graft body also froze the bank accounts and seized properties of Sharif and his family members to put pressure on them to appear before the court.
Sharif last month went to London to see ailing wife Kulsoom who has undergone three surgeries related to her throat cancer (lymphoma).