Corruption case

Panama Papers case: Pakistan court exempts Nawaz Sharif from attending hearings

The former prime minister was granted the relief on the grounds that his wife was undergoing treatment in London.

An accountability court in Pakistan granted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif conditional exemption from attending hearings in the corruption cases against him. Sharif was granted the relief on medical grounds after his lawyer said that his client’s wife was undergoing treatment in London, The Hindu reported.

The court’s exemption, however, comes with a rider. The National Accountability Bureau’s prosecutor said that Sharif will be given exemption on a hearing-to-hearing basis. He has to submit separate applications for exemptions on every date of hearing.

Sharif, on Tuesday, appeared for the first time before an accountability court in Islamabad to face corruption charges filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau in the Panama Papers scandal. The court will formally chargesheet Sharif on October 2.

The Pakistan Supreme Court had set up a Joint Investigation Team after Sharif was named in the Panama Papers leak in 2016. The leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed three of his children owned offshore companies and undisclosed assets.

On July 28, a five-judge bench of the court had disqualified Sharif as an MP, after which he had to step down as the prime minister. The bench had said Sharif failed to disapprove of a previously undeclared company in Dubai. The court had also ordered the filing of corruption charges against Sharif’s children Hussain, Hassan and Maryam Nawaz, his son-in-law Mohammad Safdar, and Ishaq Dar, the finance minister.

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