Panama Papers case: Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif says no proof of wrongdoing
Nawaz Sharif, 67, said he was disqualified on flimsy grounds and alleged efforts were on to find “evidence of any wrongdoing by me”.world Updated: Jan 03, 2018 19:33 IST
Pakistan’s ousted premier Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday he was disqualified by the Supreme Court on flimsy grounds as there was no proof of wrongdoing by him, after he appeared in an anti-graft court trying him for alleged corruption.
Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar Hussain appeared in the accountability court in Islamabad shortly after he returned to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia, ending speculation that he could go into self-exile.
Speaking to the media after the hearing, Sharif said, “They have not been able to prove any crime against me yet.”
Sharif, 67, said he was disqualified on flimsy grounds and said efforts were on to find “evidence of any wrongdoing by me”. The Sharif family says the cases are politically motivated.
The cases are related to the Panama Papers leaks that resulted in the ouster of the three-time prime minister after the Supreme Court launched an investigation into the issue. The accountability court began hearing the cases in September after the apex court ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to probe the corruption allegations.
Sharif protested against the frequent summons issued by the court and said opposition leader Imran Khan had accepted he had committed fraud but “was declared ‘sadiq’ (truthful) and ‘ameen’ (honest) while no evidence has been found against me”.
He noted that Khan had been granted bail by an anti-terrorism court on Tuesday in four cases pertaining to violence during his protest in 2014. He also criticised the Supreme Court for quashing a corruption case against Khan last month.
Sharif has appeared in the accountability court 10 times, his daughter 12 times, and his son-in-law 14 times.
Responding to criticism of his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Sharif said, “Saudi Arabia is our friend, my visit there was not exclusive.”
Sharif, who travelled to Saudi Arabia on December 30 amid reports of a “deal” with Pakistan’s military, returned on Tuesday with his younger brother, Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir recorded the evidence provided by two witnessed produced by NAB and the defence lawyer cross-examined them. A third witness provided additional documents. The court then adjourned the case till January 9.
A large number of leaders from the ruling PML-N accompanied the Sharif family to the judicial complex, while party supporters were asked to stay away.