Pakistan’s ex-PM appears in court for trial over finances

 Reuters International

A supporter of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) holds a picture of Nawaz Sharif outside the accountability court where he appeared to face corruption charges filed against him, in Islamabad, Pakistan November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood


By Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif attended an anti-corruption trial on Friday ordered by the country’s Supreme Court when it removed him from office earlier this year.

Sharif, 67, arrived at the court with his daughter, Maryam, who is also on trial over the family’s wealth and financial dealings.

The family has called the case a political conspiracy but opposition leaders who pushed it before the courts have hailed it as accountability for the rich and powerful.

The charges in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court are linked to London properties the family owns that were revealed in the 2016 Panama Papers leaks involving offshore companies owned by prominent international figures.

Allies of Sharif, who has served as prime minister twice and was toppled in a military coup in 1999, have called the proceedings a political vendetta and hinted at intervention by elements of the powerful army.

The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from office in July over unreported sources of annual income of about $10,000 (7,655.80 pounds), a salary the former premier denies ever receiving.

The high court also ordered the NAB to investigate and conduct a trial into the Sharif family’s wider finances, including the London properties.

Sharif maintains control of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, which elected close ally Shahid Khaqi Abbasi as prime minister after Sharif was disqualified.

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Paul Tait)

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