Ousted Prime Minister, Two Relatives, Indicted for Corruption
- Written by Haroon Janjua
ISLAMABAD – Ousted from office for corruption this summer, former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, along with his daughter and son-in-law, was indicted Thursday on charges stemming from revelations in the Panama Papers.
The Supreme Court pulled Sharif, 67, from office in July after months of hearings on the charges against the ex prime minister, his daughter Maryam, and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar. His two sons were not named in the indictments.
Sharif is currently in London where his wife is undergoing treatment for cancer. The family again denied all charges against them as they have from the beginning. They read a defiant statement:
"I do not plead guilty. Charges are not only groundless, baseless and unfounded but also frivolous, and on top of that we are being denied our right to fair trial. The charges are being framed on a report that is incomplete and controversial. It will go down in history as [a] mockery of justice and travesty of justice. Moreover, the charges are being framed without awaiting the detailed order of the Supreme Court in the review petitions."
Safdar was arrested earlier this month at Islamabad’s main airport. He was released on bail after he and Maryam Sharif, who has worked in the family’s charitable organization and political party, appeared before an anti-corruption court.
The court’s findings and today’s indictment has boosted Pakistan’s opposition leader Imran Khan, 64, who filed a petition against Sharif and his family more than an year ago.
Fawad Chaudhary, spokesman for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf opposition party, told the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project that: “Sharif and his family have formally been indicted and his sons declared as proclaimed absconders by the accountability court. The entire looted money of the nation will brought back to Pakistan.”
Sharif offered contradictory explanations for the evidence presented in court against him derived primarily the Panama Papers. That leaked information from a Panama law firm involved in setting up off shore businesses, showed the Sharifs holding interest in luxury property in London never declared in Pakistan.
During the Supreme Court hearings, a senior judge excoriated Sharif and his family for engaging in “mafia”-like financial dealings.”