ISLAMABAD, JANUARY 16: Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif today compared the corruption cases against him to a ‘flop’ movie as he appeared before an accountability court trying him for graft in the Panama Papers scandal that forced him to resign.
The cases were launched on September 8 following the Supreme Court verdict of July 28 that disqualified Sharif as prime minister and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for institution of cases against him. Sharif, 68, arrived in the court – his 13th appearance – in Islamabad.
He was accompanied by daughter Maryam and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar, who are coaccused in one of three cases.
During the hearing, at least two more witnesses produced by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) recorded their statements. Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Harris cross-examined the witnesses.
Later, the court postponed hearing till January 23 and summoned three more witnesses. Sharif after the court hearing narrated a story about a famous big-budget film in the 1960s to dismiss corruption charges against him.
“After it was released, amid much fanfare, someone asked the producer and director how the movie was faring, to which they replied ‘Pehlay haftay zabardast, doosray haftay zabardasti (The first week was great but the second was forced),” Sharif said as he linked the ‘flop’ movie to his own corruption cases.
“You (media representatives) are here covering the case. You better know these cases and how strong they are?”, he said. He also criticised his political opponents planning protests this week against his party’s rule in Punjab province. He asked them to wait for another four months when general elections are due to be held.
The three cases against him pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills, several companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and London’s Avenfield properties.
Sharif and some of his family members are facing charges relating to their overseas properties. The political future of Sharif, who leads the country’s most powerful
political family and the ruling PML-N party, has been hanging in balance since then. If convicted, Sharif can be jailed. (PTI)