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‘Daily hearings in alleged corruption case against Sharif’

Nawaz-Sharif

Islamabad : Pakistan’s Supreme Court today decided to conduct daily hearings against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members for their alleged corruption exposed in the Panama Papers leak, a case that can have serious repercussions on the premier’s political future.

The five-member larger bench of the court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa resumed hearings of the case after more than two weeks of break.

Justice Khosa announced that the case would be heard on day-to-day basis, thus accepting a major demand of opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by cricketer-turned- politician Imran Khan, who is one the five petitioners in the case.

The petitioners alleged that Sharif and his family made assets in London through money laundering.

The assets were allegedly run through offshore companies which were exposed by the Panama papers leak last year.

Sharif, 67, has rejected the charges of illegal transfer of any money from Pakistan.

PTI counsel Naeem Bokhari in his arguments said Sharif misguided lawmakers in a speech regarding his assets delivered last year in the National Assembly following the Panama leaks, saying that the Prime Minister failed to prove the money trail.

Sharif, his daughter Maryam, and two sons – Hasan and Hussain – are represented through three different lawyers as the family has changed the two earlier lawyers who pleaded their case.

Makhdoom Ali Khan replaced senior counsel Salman Aslam Butt, to defend the Prime Minister, whereas Maryam is represented with advocate Shahid Hamid in place of Akram Sheikh.

Senior counsel Salman Akram Raja will appear on behalf of Hasan and Hussain, who were also earlier represented by Akram Sheikh.

Earlier, PTI also changed the lawyer last year when Hamid Khan was replaced with advocate Naeem Bokhari.

The case may drag on for weeks or months even as both sides are claiming victories in the case which would have wider ramification for the political scene in Pakistan.

Sharif would be disqualified if proved guilty and conversely Imran Khan would receive serious blow ahead of next year elections as his whole campaign is built on Sharif’s alleged corruption.

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