Lahore, September 23
Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today suffered a major setback after an anti-graft body froze the bank accounts and seized the properties of him and his family members facing corruption and money-laundering charges in the Panama Papers scandal.
Sharif, 67, stepped down after the Supreme Court disqualified him on July 28 from continuing in his office for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children.
The Accountability Court in Islamabad, which is hearing the corruption cases against the Sharif family, today summoned Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law capt (retd) Safdar to appear before it on September 26. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pasted the summonses and property attachment notices on the Sharifs’ residence in Raiwind on the outskirts of Lahore.
Sharif, along with his children, is in London to be with his ailing wife Kulsoom who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer. There is speculation that the Sharif family may not return to face the NAB corruption cases. The ruling PML-N party, however, insists that Sharif would return once his wife’s health improves.
“We have written to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and commercial banks requesting them that since Sharif and his children and son-in-law Safdar are facing the NAB cases, their bank accounts may be cautioned (frozen),” an NAB official said.
He said the NAB had also written to the commissioner Islamabad, deputy commissioner Lahore, federal board of revenue, excise and tax department, the chairman security exchange commission of Pakistan and federal board of revenue regarding freezing of the properties of the Sharif family.
The NAB has already frozen the properties of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for having assets beyond his known sources of income. The Accountability Court has also issued bailable arrest warrants against Dar who is also currently in London.
The NAB has also written to district governments, asking them to stop any transfer or disposal of the properties owned by Sharif, his sons — Hassan and Hussain, daughter — Maryam, son-in-law — Safdar, and finance minister Dar, warning that in case of non-compliance, they could face up to three years in prison.
It has filed three cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his children and Safdar, and one against Dar recently. The cases are filed in connection with the investigation of Sharifs’ offshore properties.