Pak anti-graft court asks Sharif to record statement in Panamagate


A Pakistani anti-graft court trying ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif for allegedly buying properties in the UK through corruption today asked him to record his statement in the Panama Papers case on Friday.
Three cases were launched last year against Sharif, 68, and his family including the Avenfield case about posh properties in London which were allegedly bought in 1990s when he twice served as prime minister.
Sharif’s daughter Maryam, sons Hassan and Hussain and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar are co-accused in the case.
The court also asked his daughter and son-in-law to record their statements.
His two sons have been declared absconders as they are living abroad and never appeared before the court.
Judge Muhammad Bashir ordered to provide a list of questions regarding the case. Under the law, the three accused will record their testimonies and also face cross-examinations by the prosecution.
Maryam and Safdar are co-accused only in Avenfield properties case while Sharif and his two sons are co-accused in all three cases. Sharif’s trial is going on in all the cases.
The statements by the accused will conclude the trial and the court issue the verdict which is expected to be announced any time before June 9, which is the latest deadline set by the Supreme Court to conclude the cases against Sharif.
The cases were instituted after the Supreme Court disqualified Sharif on July 28 last year. The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14, 2017.
The corruption cases, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
Last month, the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement, declared Sharif ineligible to hold public office for life, ending the political future of the three-time premier ahead of this year’s general elections.
Sharif was disqualified to hold the office of the prime minister by the Supreme Court on July 28, 2017 in the Panama Papers case. He was disqualified for not being "honest and righteous" as he failed to declare in 2013 a salary he got from the company of his son in the UAE.
In February, the apex court also disqualified Sharif as the head of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). PTI

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