Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif today left for London along with his daughter, a day after he was granted a week-long exemption from appearing in the court for cases linked to the Panama Papers scandal. The three cases were registered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8 against the 67- year-old Sharif and his family in the Accountability Court Islamabad, following a verdict by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case. The accountability court yesterday granted exemption to Sharif from December 5 to 12 while maintaining earlier exemption for his daughter Maryam from November 15 to December 15 to let them go to London to be with Sharif’s ailing wife Kulsoom, who is receiving cancer treatment there. Kulsoom, who is in her mid-sixties is suffering from throat cancer and has undergone three surgeries in the UK so far. She was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma in August and according to doctors her cancer is curable.
However, Sharif’s son-in-law and lawmaker Muhammad Safdar appeared in the court today as NAB presented a witness Tayyab Ahmad, an employee of a private bank, to record the statement. The court also accepted a request by Safdar for a one- week exemption from appearing in the court. Sharif appeared in the court yesterday when it resumed hearing in the afternoon after the two-member bench of the Islamabad High Court dismissed his appeal against a decision of the trial court to club the three corruption cases against him linked to the Panama Papers scandal.
The accountability court in Islamabad on November 8 had rejected a plea by Sharif to club his cases and he challenged it in the Islamabad High Court. The three cases against the Sharif family are related to the Al-Azizia Company and Hill Metal Establishment, Flagship Investment Ltd and the Avenfield (London) properties. Sharif and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, have been named in all three NAB cases, while Maryam and husband Safdar have been named only in the Avenfield case. Last month, Sharif was indicted in all three cases while Maryam and Safdar, co-accused with Sharif in only one case, were also indicted separately.
Sharif’s sons have failed to appear in the court despite repeated summons which prompted the court to separate their case. The cases are based on the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict which disqualified Sharif and ordered NAB to launch three corruption cases against him and his family, and one case against finance minister Ishaq Dar. Sharif has denied any wrongdoing. Dar had been relieved of his duties after the ailing politician, who was declared a proclaimed absconder by a court in the case, requested leave for three months.