A defiant Nawaz Sharif today raised questions over neutrality of the Pakistani judges for exonerating opposition leader Imran Khan of graft charges, saying the “double standards” and the blatant “murder of justice” will not be tolerated by the people. The ousted prime minister made the remarks while talking to reporters at the premises of the accountability court where he appeared to face the graft charges filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau in the Panama Papers scandal. On Friday, the apex court rejected a petition seeking Khan’s disqualification. Reading out the judgement in the packed courtroom, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said the court had found that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Khan was not liable to declare offshore company Niazi Services Ltd in his 2013 nomination papers as he was not a shareholder or director of the company. “We will remain steadfast in the face of this verdict and take the matter to the people,” Sharif reiterated today. “The court’s double standards and this blatant murder of justice will not be tolerated, not by the PML-N and neither by this nation,” 67-year-old Sharif said. “This scale of justice outside the court should stand for insaf, not for Tehreek-i-Insaf,” Sharif remarked sarcastically as he concluded his tirade. Sharif announced that he would launch a movement for restoration of justice in the country. “We will start a movement for the restoration of justice in the country like we initiated a movement for the restoration of the judiciary once,” he said. Sharif, his daughter Maryam Sharif and son-in-law Capt (retd.) Muhammad Safdar directly went to the court after arriving here from Lahore in a private jet. Heavy security arrangements were made around the court premises. In today’s hearing, the prosecution presented a witness, Yasir Bashir, who is a branch manager for a private bank.
Bashir testified to providing NAB with details about the bank accounts of Sharif and Nawaz. He also provided the court details about various transactions that took place from the accounts of Maryam and the former prime minister. He told the court that there were no discrepancies found in Maryam’s bank details and that the bank never received any complaints about her account. While cross questioning the witness, Khawaja Haris, the lawyer representing Nawaz and Maryam, pointed out that Bashir had not compiled the documents presented to NAB himself. Haris added that had Bashir done so, he would have remembered the transaction amounts for both accounts by heart. Another witness, Shakeel Anjum Nagra, recorded his statement regarding receiving certified copies of the joint investigation team’s (JIT) report and forwarding it to the relevant departments. Afaq Ahmed, a director of the Foreign Ministry, gave the court details about the letter written by the Qatari Prince Hamza Bin Jasim to the JIT chief Wajid Zia.
Ahmad told the court that that the Pakistan embassy received the letter on May 28, the letter was passed on to the JIT chief on May 30. The court has summoned the next two witnesses in the case to present themselves in court on Wednesday, January 3. Sharif returned to Pakistan from London on Sunday where he had gone with his daughter Maryam to see his ailing wife who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer. 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. The cases are based on July 28 verdict by the Supreme Court which disqualified Sharif and ordered to launch three corruption cases against him and his family, and one case against finance minister Ishaq Dar.