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News Analysis |

Troubles seem to be rising for Pakistan Muslim League (N) as on Tuesday the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is set to secure an order from an accountability court that will declare the sons of former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif as proclaimed offenders. Hasan and Hussain Nawaz will be given this status because of “deliberately avoiding court proceedings.”

Read more: Nawaz Sharif appears in accountability court

After issuing non-bailable arrest warrants for Hasan and Hussain Nawaz, the accountability court declared both Hussain and Hassan Sharif “absconders” and had ordered National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to initiate the process of declaring them as “Proclaimed Offenders” and submit details of all their properties that can be attached, under Section 87 & 88 of Pakistan Criminal Procedure Code (Cr PC) if they don’t present themselves to the court – and remain “absconders”. 

The court had also directed NAB to issue advertisements in major newspapers declaring Nawaz Sharif’s sons “absconders” from the law. The court had allowed the two brothers 30 days to appear in court. The period expired on the 11th of November. Nawaz Sharif’s daughter and one of the indicted members of the Sharif family, Maryam Nawaz, had said last month that the laws of Pakistan do not apply to her brothers Hasan and Hussain.

Rashdeen Nawaz had said that the petitioner “is before the court with sullied hands and soiled intentions, petition is frivolous, an attempt to inveigle the court, while also being utterly incompetent, and misconceived.

She had argued that the two are non-resident Pakistanis. This was then perceived as yet another attempt by the Sharif family to duck the process of accountability.Questions were raised as to how NAB will ensure that the scions of the Sharif family will be brought to court and indicted. Today NAB officials said that while the court will be informed about how the Sharifs are circumventing the courts, the prosecution team will request to seize their properties inside the country under Section 88 of CrPC.

The references against Hasan and Hussain pertain to Avenfield Properties (London), Azizia Steel Company, Hill Metal Company, Flagship Investment and other companies.

Support is also on Life Support

Despite mounting troubles, the Sharif family has been supported by the big wigs in the government and the ruling party. However, even the supporting elements are in for real trouble. On Monday, while hearing a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking the disqualification of Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, the larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) sought a reply from the Foreign Minister.

Read more: Can Nawaz Sharif’s “absconder sons” be forced to appear before Court?

Asif’s counsel, Rashdeen Nawaz had said that the petitioner “is before the court with sullied hands and soiled intentions, [and the] petition is frivolous, an attempt to inveigle the court, while also being utterly incompetent, misconceived and based on a misconception of the applicable and settled laws.” This assertion is much in-line with how the Sharif family and the PML-N have tried to exonerate themselves, plucking out technicalities rather than discussing the merits of the cases in question.

The court had also directed NAB to issue advertisements in major newspapers declaring Nawaz Sharif’s sons “absconders” from the law.The court had allowed the two brothers 30 days to appear in court.

Asif’s opponent in the 2013 General Elections, Usman Dar filed a petition seeking the disqualification on the grounds of him holding an Iqama (work permit). The petition contends that Asif is not entitled to stay on as a lawmaker, let alone be a federal minister under the ‘Unlimited Term Employment Contract’ between him and International Mechanical & Electrical Company (IMECL), a limited liability company located in Abu Dhabi, which exists under UAE’s laws.

PTI, under the tutelage of Imran Khan, has seemingly ramped up efforts to damage the PML-N ahead of the elections. Despite the dwindling fortunes of the Sharif family, PML-N, as a political force is by and large intact. Khan’s chances of winning the elections hinge upon the health of the PML-N. PTI certainly can boost its chances of clinching the next polls if the likes of Asif and other stalwarts are drained in saving their skins. As things stand, the PML-N is not only bruised by blows to the all-powerful Sharif family but also to other important figures in the party.

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