Maryam Nawaz Sharif the daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took to Twitter on Friday calling the indictment of her father as a reminder of an era of dictatorship.
اس خبر سے مجھے ڈکٹیٹرشپ کا وہ دور یاد آیا جب میں اپنی والدہ کے ہمراہ پشاور میں ڈکٹیٹر کے خلاف جلسے میں شریک تھی اور ایسی ہی خبر ائی تھی۔1999
“This news reminds of an era of dictatorship when along with my mother in 1999 I was protesting against a dictator at a rally and a similar story came,” Maryam tweeted in Urdu.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been indicted in the Flagship Investment Ltd reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Sharif was forced to resign as Pakistan’s prime minister after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over Panama Papers leak. The sensational Panama Papers leak in 2016 had shown that his daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy posh flats in London.
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.
As the hearing of the accountability court went under way, the judge began reading the charges against Nawaz, which were heard by his legal representative, Zafir Khan.
Nawaz’s sons Hussain and Hasan are also accused in the case and have been declared proclaimed offenders as they have not shown up for any hearing.
Zafir, on behalf of Nawaz, pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
The charges state that the former premier remained chairman of FZE Capital from 2007-14. Nawaz was disqualified by the Supreme Court over his association with the foreign company.
The hearing was then adjourned until October 26, when the court will take up all three references against Nawaz and his family.
The court is conducting the hearing of three references filed by NAB in light of the Supreme Court directions in the July 28 Panama Papers case judgment.
On Thursday, Nawaz was indicted in the Azizia Steel Mills reference as well as in the Avenfield properties reference, in which his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar were indicted as well.
Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir indicted the three accused after dismissing their separate pleas to suspend proceedings and halt their indictment.
Nawaz, through his representative Zafir Khan, Maryam and Safdar rejected the charges by pleading ‘not guilty’ and vowed to contest the case.
The court has adjourned the hearing of the Avenfield properties and Azizia Steel Mills references until October 26 and directed the prosecution to produce its first witness at the next hearing. The former premier, who is presently in London, will be returning to the country on October 22 and has vowed to contest the charges.
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.