Pakistani Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Ex-PM Sharif

A Pakistani court issued on Thursday an arrest warrant against ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after he failed to appear before judges over allegations of corruption that  was revealed in the Panama Papers. However, Sharif can avoid his arrest by paying a bail.

475px-PrimeMinisterNawazSharifNawaz Sharif (Photo: Z A Balti)In Pakistan, “bailable arrest warrants” often act as a warning to deter absences from court. Sharif is currently out of country and a judge can later issue non-bailable warrant that could prompt Sharif’s arrest once he returns to Pakistan.

Sharif, 67, is in Saudi Arabia for a religious pilgrimage, Pakistani media reported. Earlier, he spent a few weeks in London, where his wife Kulsoom Nawaz is receiving cancer treatment.

The National Accountability Bureau, NAB, charged Sharif in three separate corruption cases, and his family has repeatedly called the NAB proceedings a conspiracy against them orchestrated by the country’s powerful military. The army has denied these allegations.

“We are going through a time in Pakistan where speaking up against injustice is called contempt of court and speaking up for the nation is called treason, but I still believe that we will be victorious,” Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, said today outside the court after the hearing.

Sharif was ousted and charged after the Panama Papers leaks in 2016 showed that his daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and that they used them to buy flats in London.