World Bulletin / News Desk
An anti-corruption court on Wednesday rejected former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's petition to combine all the ongoing corruption cases against him and his family members, according to lawyers and court records.
Judge Mohammad Bashir of the anti-corruption court in Islamabad, who is trying Sharif, his daughter, and son-in-law in three corruption cases, rejected the petition, declaring that all the cases stemming from the Panama Papers scandal will be heard separately.
Sharif, along with his daughter and potential political heir, Maryam Nawaz, and her husband Muhammad Safdar, were present in the court when the judge announced the verdict.
The judge, who indicted Sharif in absentia last month in the three cases, re-read the indictment. The ousted premier pleaded not guilty and said he had been deprived of his fundamental right to a fair trial, according to local broadcaster Geo News.
The Sharif family has time and again rejected the allegations, saying all the corruption charges against them are "based on lies”.
There were tight security arrangements inside and outside the judicial complex, and ruling party workers were barred from entering the court premises.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan ousted the former premier from office on July 28 over the Panama Papers case. The court found that Sharif had acted in an untrustworthy manner by failing to declare a salary from his son’s Dubai-based company ahead of the 2013 election.
The apex court also ordered anti-corruption watchdog the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to open several cases against him, his children, son-in-law, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Sharif's British-national children -- Hassan and Hussain -- have already been declared absconders in the said cases for skipping the proceedings. Ruling Pakistan Muslim League leaders say that they will not appear before the court to face the graft cases, as Pakistan's laws do not apply to them.
According to evidence submitted by the National Accountability Bureau, the Sharifs have four posh London apartments, two steel mills in Saudi Arabia, and several offshore companies in the United Kingdom.
The April 2016 Panama Papers revealed that three of Sharif’s children owned offshore assets not shown on his family's wealth statement, including luxury apartments in London.Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2017, 09:52