Pakistan bars the ousted PM Nawaz Sharif from holding office for life

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday indicted Pakistan’s disposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain Mohammad Safdar over corruption allegations linked to ownership of London properties. According to reports, the charges may see the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief getting jailed.

Sharif, 67, resigned in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income.

The companies identified so far include three British Virgin Islands-based companies Nescoll Ltd, Nielsen Enterprises Ltd and Hangon Property Holdings Ltd, incorporated in 1993, 1994 and 2007 respectively. These companies have reportedly been used to channel funds to acquire foreign assets, including some apartments along Park Lane in London’s Mayfair area.

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The innuendo that the companies were meant to hide or launder ill-gotten wealth or to avoid taxes called his credentials into question.

Latest ruling addressed an ambiguity over his disqualification and whether he was barred from office for life or a specific period. Sharif and his family have denied wrongdoing. Earlier, they told the Supreme Court that their London property was bought through investments in companies owned by the Qatari ruling family.

The former Prime Minister has called the leaks the work of people “targeting me and my family for their political aims”. In an address to the nation on 5 April 2016, he said those “who use ill-gotten wealth don’t keep assets in their own names”.

Reports show that, The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed three corruption references against the Sharif family in September last year in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case. Three time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from the Parliament in July last year following Supreme Court probe into panama papers.

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

Nawaz is accused in all three cases whereas Maryam and Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

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