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What a corruption trial against Nawaz Sharif could mean?

A corruption case against Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam could have far-reaching implication for Pakistani politics.


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Updated: February 1, 2018

An anti-corruption case against Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam could have significant ramifications for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, with the possibility that both could be sent to jail if they are found guilty.

Such a verdict would hit the PML-N’s fortunes ahead of the crucial general election this year. Sharif, 67, was already disqualified from holding public office when he was removed by the Supreme Court in July last year for dishonesty. The PML-N elected Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister following his
disqualification.

The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from office over an unreported source of annual income of about US$10,000, a salary from his son’s Dubai-based firm that the former premier denies ever receiving.

The charges against Sharif and his family stem from revelations contained in the Panama Papers leak of 2016 – Sharif’s family members owned expensive residential properties in London that were not properly reported under Pakistani disclosure rules.

At the time of his ouster, the Supreme Court had directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, to file cases against Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and his sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz and his son-in- law Mohammed Safdar.

Maryam in recent months had become a senior leader in the PML-N party and was seen as Sharif’s political heir.

The Supreme Court had directed that the hearings in these cases should be completed within six months.

The former premier, who had left for Saudi Arabia on December 30 amid reports of “deal” for the possible exile of the embattled Sharif family, returned to Pakistan with his daughter Maryam to attend the 11 th  hearing of the case last week.

Hassan and Hussain have refused to come back and the Sharif family has repeatedly denied the charges, saying they are politically motivated.

“This case in the National Accountability Bureau is highly bogus and fake, which doesn’t have links to corruption,” Sharif told Geo News channel, comparing the process to charges laid against him after General Pervez Musharraf ousted him and seized power in 1999.

“There is no kickback or misappropriation of the national exchequer,” he added.

Sharif has served three times as prime minister, with the latest stint beginning in May 2013 after a sweeping electoral victory that resulted in the first peaceful transfer of power from one elected government to another.



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About the Author: Lamat R Hasan is an independent journalist based in New Delhi.

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