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Pakistan accountability court resumes hearing against Sharifs

IANS | Islamabad |

Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain Muhammad Safdar (Retd.) appeared before an accountability court here on Wednesday as the trial resumed into the corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Several senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders accompanied Sharif to the court. The NAB has filed three graft references against the Sharif family relating to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.

Sharif and his two sons — Hussain and Hassan — are nominated in all three references whereas Maryam and her husband are only accused in one.

Despite being exempted from appearance, the former Premier and his daughter attended the court hearing. Maryam submitted a request asking the court to alter her exemption period, seeking to be absent from December 5 to January 5, 2018, Dawn online reported.

Similarly, Nawaz sought exemption from appearance from December 5-12. The court is yet to rule on the requests. The Sharif family members left the court after two prosecution witnesses recorded their statements.

Speaking to the media after attending the proceedings, Sharif came down hard on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party.

He said “dictator’s black laws were rejected on the floor of the house yesterday”, referring to the rejection in the National Assembly of the Elections Amendment Bill 2017, which sought to restrict disqualified parliamentarians from heading a political party.

The PML-N President lamented the PPP moving of the amendment bill, saying: “The PPP’s support for this bill hurt me. The party’s action has made me question their democratic credentials.”

Talking about the PTI, Sharif said there is nothing democratic about the party, adding that it is not even a political party (due to its link with dictators).

Referring to the courts’ alleged lenient attitude towards PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Sharif said the “rules of the game should be the same”.

Sharif said that verdicts against his family are announced swiftly and wondered when judgments against the PTI leaders will be announced. “The standard of justice applies differently to us than others. The mockery of requisites of justice should be stopped.”

He said corruption cases are now emerging against the PTI leadership as well, including Imran Khan, Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan.