Ousted Pakistani PM, family skip court hearing on corruption cases


ISLAMABAD — Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family on Tuesday failed to appear before a court hearing corruption cases against him as he was in London to take care of his ailing wife.

The accountability court — the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) — is hearing the corruption cases filed against Sharif and his family after the Supreme Court on July 28 disqualified him in the Panama Papers scandal.

NAB on Tuesday gave former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other family members another seven days to appear before the accountability court in connection with the Supreme Court-mandated corruption references.

NAB ordered that the family should appear before the court on Sept. 26, directing that the summons be dispatched to the Sharif family’s London address.

During the court proceedings, NAB prosecutors told the court that they were not allowed entry into the Sharif family’s multiple homes and had to hand the summons to the guards at each of the properties.

The prosecutors also said that earlier, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz had refused to receive the summons.

PML-N leader Asif Kirmani, who appeared in court on the Sharifs’ behalf, said that the family was not present (in court) as they had all gone to be with Kulsoom Nawaz who is recovering from surgery.

Kirmani also told the court that Kulsoom is scheduled to undergo another surgery in the next couple of days, therefore an exact date for the family's return cannot be ascertained.

Dawn, the leading Pakistani daily, quoted a leader close to the Sharif family saying that “Nawaz Sharif and his children will not appear before the accountability court and they are likely to skip all the proceedings of the accountability courts.”

Last month, the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had chosen not to appear before NAB after they were asked to join the investigation in different cases.

“The Sharifs are anticipating the outcome of these references, therefore they have no plans to appear before the accountability courts,” the leader to the news daily.

NAB court might issue bailable or non-bailable arrest warrants for members of the Sharif family if they did not turn up in court after receiving two summons. “We had exercised restraint and not issued arrest warrants for members of the Sharif family after they refused to join the investigation,” a NAB official was quoted as saying. NAB usually issues arrest orders for suspects, even in “petty white-collar crime cases”, but NAB chief Qamar Zaman Chaudhry appears to be soft on the Sharifs. — Agencies