News Analysis |
Former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (Retd.) Safdar appeared before the accountability court today amid tight security conditions. They appeared for the hearing of three corruption references filed against them in the accountability court by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which were filed after the 28th July Supreme Court (SC) decision which disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister.
Two witnesses recorded their statements in front of Judge Muhammad Bashir. A third witness, Afaq Ahmed, was present at the court but he was unable to record his testimony because he couldn’t acquire his documents from the Supreme Court (SC). The first prosecution witness, Nasir Junejo, recorded his statement regarding the Flagship reference; he was cross-examined by the defense’s counsel Khawaja Harris.
PAT chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri wants to take down the entire PML-N government, even if he doesn’t insist on that demand, his original demand of resignation of CM Shehbaz would prove to be the end of politics for the Sharif family.
Later, the second prosecution witness, sub-inspector of NAB Umar Draz Gondal recorded his statement. He was questioned vigorously by the defense’s counsel over whom an argument broke out between the NAB prosecutor general and Khawaja Harris. The prosecutor accused Harris of asking the same question over and over, and pressuring the witness.
The hearing was adjourned till 23rd January. NAB will present three more witnesses in the next hearing. This is the 13th time that Nawaz Sharif has appeared before the accountability court, 15th time for Maryam Nawaz and 17th time for Captain (Retd.) Safdar. Three references, Avenfield properties, Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment, were filed against the former premier and his sons; Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.
While only one reference, Avenfield properties, was filed against Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt. Safdar. The court has declared Hassan and Hussain Nawaz absconders for failing to appear in the court hearings. NAB sent another team to London to gather evidence against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. A three-member team headed by the Director General (operations) Zahir Shah will meet authorities in London to confirm the allegations leveled against Nawaz Sharif.
If the corruption references are proved against Nawaz, it might be the end of the PML-N and even if it isn’t, it would be a huge blowback for the upcoming 2018 elections.
It appears that NAB doesn’t have enough evidence to indict him because the JIT formed by the Supreme Court had already hired a UK based law firm Quist to assist them in legal issues and help them find evidence. Two weeks ago, another NAB team had visited London and sought details of Sharif’s properties, tax returns and bank accounts but the British Virgin Islands (BVI) refused to give them any details and advised them to follow the legal process.
The NAB chief recently met the Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and sought her help to get the needed evidence and documents from BVI. NAB has obtained sufficient details in the case and would be filing a supplementary reference soon according to the sources.
The PML-N is sinking deeper and deeper into trouble. Dr. Tahirul Qadri’s PAT will stage a protest in Lahore on 17th January, all major political parties will be accompanying him, and they demand the resignation of the Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif. The NAB is persistent in its attempts to open the Huddaibiya Mills case and filed a fresh petition in the Supreme Court yesterday.
The court has declared Hassan and Hussain Nawaz absconders for failing to appear in the court hearings. NAB sent another team to London to gather evidence against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The PML-N already lost its government in the Baluchistan province this week and now the Punjab government is also under threat from PAT. The options for Nawaz Sharif and PML-N are very limited. The NAB cases are going against Nawaz Sharif so far and since the Supreme Court has given a deadline of 6 months for deciding the cases, Nawaz appears to be running out of time.
Read more: What’s behind the Sharifs’ trip to Saudi?
If the corruption references are proved against Nawaz, it might be the end of the PML-N and even if it isn’t, it would be a huge blowback for the upcoming 2018 elections. PAT chief Dr. Tahirul Qadri wants to take down the entire PML-N government, even if he doesn’t insist on that demand, his original demand of resignation of CM Shehbaz would prove to be the end of politics for the Sharif family.