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Nawaz Sharif to be indicted in corruption cases on Oct 2

Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted as Pakistan’s prime minister after the Supreme Court ruled against him in the Panama Papers case, said all decisions on disqualification should rest with the people.

world Updated: Sep 27, 2017 14:47 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan,anti-corruption court,Nawaz Sharif
In this photo released by the PML-N party, deposed premier Nawaz Sharif arrives at an anti-corruption court in Islamabad on September 26, 2017. Sharif made his first appearance in the court to face corruption charges. He was disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28 following a probe that concluded he had concealed financial assets. (AP)

Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be formally indicted by an anti-corruption court on October 2 in three graft cases filed against him, a judge announced on Tuesday.

The National Accountability Board court also issued bailable arrest warrants for the ousted premier’s children Hassan, Hussain and Maryam Nawaz and his son-in-law Mohammad Safdar ahead of the indictment.

Earlier in the day, the court in Islamabad allowed Sharif to leave after he briefly appeared before the judge for the hearing of cases filed against him by the NAB. He was permitted to leave after a few minutes when he informed the court that his wife Kulsoom was unwell.

A number of leaders of the ruling PML-N party, including federal ministers, accompanied Sharif for his first appearance in the court, which summoned him after he failed to appear for a hearing on September 19.

The court had also summoned Sharif’s sons Hussain and Hassan but they did not appear as they are in London, tending to their mother, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, according to the family lawyer.

Sharif, who returned to Pakistan on Monday after his wife underwent surgery, went from the court to Punjab House, where he chaired a meeting of senior PML-N leaders. He had spent the past three weeks in London and returned to the country after consultations with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his brother, Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Supporters of former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif hold placards as they shout slogans outside an anti-corruption court where he appeared to face graft charges in Islamabad on September 26, 2017. The Supreme Court has ordered the anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau, to open criminal cases against Sharif, his sons - Hussain and Hassan - and his daughter Maryam. (AFP)

Addressing the media at Punjab House, Sharif strongly criticised the judiciary over his disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28 in connection with the Panama Papers scandal.

Sharif said a joint investigation team was formed after the court “could not find proof” of any wrongdoing by him. “The same courts and judges announced the decision and told the National Accountability Bureau to open (cases),” he said.

“Is this how justice works?” he asked. “Is this what we call the rule of law…Is this what it is meant by a fair trial?”

Sharif contended that the people continued to back him and would make a “big decision” when the next general election is held in 2018.

“Today, I have faced the accountability courts and I am clean. I believe that God and the people of Pakistan are with me…The whole country is being punished – the people and the generations to come. They have made a mockery of a progressive Pakistan on the track of democracy,” he said.

“Let the decision of qualification and disqualification rest with the people – do not take that right from them. Our history is full of bad decisions that are painful to recall. The time has come to cure this 70-year cancer.”

First Published: Sep 26, 2017 17:18 IST