Pakistan’s Prosecutors Request Travel Ban for the Sharifs

By Haroon Janjua

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdogasked the interior ministry on Wednesday to make sure ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and his son-in-law can’t leave the country since their trial is about to end and they could consider fleeing.

PrimeMinisterNawazSharifFormer Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (Public Domain)The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior for Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar to be put on the list of those prohibited to leave Pakistan.

In July last year the Supreme Court ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif after an investigation - prompted by the Panama Papers leaks - showed his daughter and two sons owned offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy flats in London.

Sharif also failed to declare a monthly salary, equivalent to around US$ 2,700, from a company owned by his son. He denies receiving the salary.

The Islamabad-based Accountability Court launched trials against Sharif and his children — Maryam, Hussain and Hassan – in September.

Earlier, a similar request to ban finance minister Ishaq Dar from leaving the country was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Pakistan opposition party chief and a cricket star turned politician Imran Khan said on Wednesday that whether Sharif and his children are placed on the no-travel list is a test case for Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who represents Sharif’s political party.

Prior to his term as prime minster that started in 2013 and ended with him being ousted last year, Sharif served as prime minister in the 1990s but entered a feud with the country’s president. The standoff was ended by the military, which removed both of them from office in 1999.

Tensions between civilian governments and the military have been a constant source of instability in Pakistan, with the military staging coups and running the country for nearly half the time since independence from British colonial rule in 1947.