Pakistan’s graft watchdog files corruption references against Sharifs

Author: 
Sib Kaifee
Sun, 2017-09-10 03:00
ID: 
1504988147139387300

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Court on Friday filed three references against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his three children and son-in-law, with a separate charge against incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Boxes of evidence were reportedly brought under heavy security from the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) satellite offices to its headquarters in Islamabad.
In compliance with a Supreme Court order on July 28, the NAB’s chairman approved the references on Thursday.
“Our legal team is looking into the charges filed,” MP Maiza Hameed of Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told Arab News. “Looking at the evidence, it’s clear that Sharif’s family is being politically victimized.”
The four references were accepted by the accountability court, “and the matter has been referred for trial,” said NAB spokesperson Nawazish Ali Khan Asim.
Two clauses invoked from the 1999 NAB Ordinance against the Sharifs refer to illegal funding and undeclared gift exchanges carrying a sentence up to 14 years in prison and a freezing of assets. The reference against Dar concerns allegations of living beyond his means.
If declared guilty, the accused would forfeit positions in public office for life, ending their political careers.
The NAB chairman directed that prosecution of the cases be followed up vigorously in the accountability court. A Joint Investigation Team has asked other countries for legal assistance.
A three-member panel of Supreme Court judges is scheduled to start hearings of petitions filed by the Sharifs and Dar on Sept. 12.
Analyst Qamar Cheema, who teaches international politics at the National University of Modern Languages, told Arab News that as prime minister, “Sharif believed in concentration of power and bypassed institutions while making decisions. He ignored Parliament, but whenever he needed legitimacy he rushed back there for that.”
Cheema added: “If institutions remain steadfast, there’s the probability that some members of the Sharif family may end up behind bars.”

Main category: