This material belongs to: Daily Mail.
A Pakistani court on Thursday issued arrest warrants for ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, piling more pressure on his ruling party as it seeks a way forward ahead of next year’s general election.
Sharif’s defence lawyer Zafir Khan told AFP that Pakistan’s accountability court issued bailable warrants for the former leader in two cases of alleged corruption on Thursday.
In late July the Supreme Court made Sharif the 15th premier in Pakistan’s 70-year history to be ousted before completing a full term, after a corruption investigation against him.
It also barred him from holding political office, effectively taking him out of the running ahead of general elections due to be held by the end of 2018. Some analysts have already warned the party could lose seats in the vote.
The claims against the prime minister stemmed from the Panama Papers leak last year, which sparked a media frenzy over the luxurious lifestyles and high-end London property portfolio owned by his family.
Sharif had been due to return to Pakistan from London, where his wife Kalsum is undergoing cancer treatment, but instead flew to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia several days ago, according to local media.
He has not returned to Pakistan since he was indicted in the corruption allegations earlier this month, despite reports he would do so.
The next hearing is scheduled for November 3, his lawyer Zafir Khan said.
Sharif’s eponymous ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has doggedly stuck behind their leader since he was ousted by the Supreme Court in July.
But as the legal pressure builds cracks are beginning to appear in their unity, with some members calling for his younger brother Shahbaz, chief minister of the Sharif family’s powerbase of Punjab province, to take control of the party.
Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Pirzada became the most high profile voice of dissent when he called last week for Shahbaz to take over.
“We don’t object to Nawaz’s leadership but we are concerned how the party will win the next elections,” Pirzada told Pakistan broadcaster Geo News earlier this week.
Question of Punjab
In the days after his ouster Sharif swiftly named a replacement, current prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and designated Shahbaz his eventual successor.
However there has been no move towards securing a federal seat for the chief provincial minister, which would allow him to take over the premiership and secure the Sharif dynasty.
Such a move would then open up elections for the leadership of Punjab, which some observers have suggested the party cannot afford to risk, despite its influence there.
Pakistan’s most populous and wealthiest province, Punjab and the parliamentary seats it can deliver are seen as vital to the PML-N’s grip on power.
Instead Sharif fielded his wife Kalsum in a by-election to fill his old seat in Lahore in September.
She won the vote, seen as a key test of the PML-N’s popularity after Sharif’s ousting and ahead of the election, but the party’s soul-searching continues as the debate over its leadership spills into local media.
“There is a very visible split in the party, which has clearly been divided into two groups” behind each brother, political analyst Rasul Bukhsh Raees told AFP.
Nawaz Sharif has faced — and come back from — similar challenges in the past.
In 1993 he was sacked from his first term as premier for corruption, while in 1999 he was sentenced to life in prison after his second term in office ended with a military putsch.
Following the coup he was allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia, returning in 2007 before becoming prime minister for a third time in 2013.
Analysts have said his chances of a third comeback may depend on his ability to convince voters he is a victim of an unjust campaign by the powerful military to undermine him.
Nawaz Sharif files another petition against indictment in corruption references
This material belongs to: Daily Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif filed three petitions seeking to declare the October 19 indictment illegal.
SLAMABAD – Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday seeking to stop the indictment proceedings against him in the accountability court regarding the corruption references filed by National Accountability Bureau.
Three petitions were filed by his representative Zafir Khan, challenging the accountability court’s October 19 decision to indict Nawaz Sharif in the Avenfield properties and Azizia Steel Mills reference.
The accountability court is hearing corruption references filed by the NAB against Nawaz and his family members, as well as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, in line with the directives of the Supreme Court’s order in the Panama Papers case.
In his petition, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz president has pleaded the IHC to declare the October 19 decision illegal and order the accountability court to combine the three references against him into one.
He has also pleaded that there should be one trial on one charge instead of separate cases. The embattled elder Sharif has also filed a petition in the apex court seeking the quashing of ‘concurrent’ corruption references against him.
The petition is yet to be taken up by the Supreme Court.
The accountability court in Islamabad will resume hearing references against the former premier on Thursday.
On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif is in Saudi Arabia and according to his elder son Hassan, he would be arriving in Pakistan today to face the cases.
IHC seeks response from federal government on Nawaz’s plea against corruption indictment
This material belongs to: geo.tv.
ISLAMABAD: A divisional bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) sent notices to the federal government on Wednesday over former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea seeking to stop the indictment proceedings against him in an accountability court.
A divisional bench comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani and Justice Aamer Farooq heard Nawaz’s plea.
The hearing was then adjourned until November 2.
Earlier today, Nawaz, through his representative Zafir Khan, submitted three petitions in the high court challenging the accountability court’s October 19 decision to indict him in the Avenfield properties and Azizia Steel Mills reference.
He was indicted in the third and last — Flagship Investment Ltd — reference on October 20.
The accountability court is hearing corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau against Nawaz and his family members, as well as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, in light of the Supreme Court’s order in the Panama Papers case.
In his petition, Nawaz has pleaded the IHC to declare the October 19 decision illegal and order the accountability court to combine the three references against him into one.
He has also pleaded that there should be one trial on one charge instead of separate cases.
Similar plea in Supreme Court
On October 13, the former prime minister filed a similar plea in the Supreme Court seeking the quashing of ‘concurrent’ corruption references against him.
The plea asked the Supreme Court to halt the accountability court proceedings of the three references against the Sharif family until a single reference is filed.
The plea, filed by Nawaz’s legal team under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, states that Section 9 (a) (5) of the National Accountability Ordinance holds that the reference against possession of assets beyond known sources of income should be one and not spread over several references.
The petition is yet to be taken up by the apex court.
Hearing due tomorrow
During his indictment on October 19, Nawaz was present in London seeing to his ailing wife.
He was represented by Zafir Khan, who has submitted the petition in the IHC today.
During the hearing, Nawaz’s counsel, Ayesha Hamid, pleaded the accountability court to suspend proceedings until the Supreme Court decides on her client’s plea regarding the re-filing of references. However, the plea was dismissed by Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir.
The case against Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar will resume on Thursday (tomorrow) when the first prosecution witness is expected to record his statement.
The former premier is expected to arrive in the country for the hearing from Saudi Arabia.
The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and one against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
The anti-graft body was given six weeks, from the date of the apex court’s order, to file the reference in an accountability court while the accountability court was granted six months to wrap up the proceedings.
The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.
Maryam and Safdar are only nominated in the London properties reference. At an earlier hearing, the court also approved Maryam and Safdar’s bail in the Avenfiled properties case and ordered them to submit surety bonds worth Rs5 million each.
Safdar was also directed to take the court’s permission before leaving the country from now on. The judge also provided a copy of the reference — spread over 53 volumes — to Maryam and Safdar.
NAB’s Rawalpindi branch prepared two references regarding the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, and the nearly dozen companies owned by the Sharif family.
Its Lahore branch prepared a reference on the Sharif family’s Avenfield apartments in London and another against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.
If convicted, the accused may face up to 14 years imprisonment and lifelong disqualification from holding public office including the freezing of bank accounts and assets.