Nawaz Sharif appears in court

ISLAMABAD (web desk) –  Nawaz Sharif has appeared in the accountability court in Islamabad today (Friday 3/11/017) to face trial over allegations linked to London properties the Sharif family owns.

Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar Malik are also present in the court.

Speaking to media outside court, the former prime minister said that he is being punished from eradicated terrorism and load shedding in the country.

Thursday. He had been in London with his wife who is undergoing cancer treatment.

Allies of Sharif, who has served as prime minister twice and was toppled in a military coup in 1999, have called the proceedings a political vendetta.

The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from office in July over unreported sources of annual income of about $10,000, a salary the former premier denies ever receiving.

The high court also ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate and conduct a trial into the Sharif family’s wider finances, including the London properties.

Sharif maintains control of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which elected close ally Shahid Khaqi Abbasi as prime minister after Sharif was disqualified.

Also facing trial before the NAB court is Sharif’s daughter Maryam and her husband, Muhammad Safdar. They have all pleaded not guilty.

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The allegations stem from the Panama Papers leaks in 2016 that appeared to show that Maryam and her two brothers owned offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy upscale flats in London.

A Supreme Court-appointed investigatory panel deemed that the family’s wealth did not match its income, and accused Maryam and her brothers of signing forged documents to obscure ownership of companies used to buy the properties.

The Supreme Court has ordered the NAB investigation and trial to be concluded within six months, which would probably bring a verdict before general elections due next year.

(with inputs from Reuters)