Nawaz Sharif faces criminal charges

Ousted Pakistani premier could receive up to 13 years in prison for corruption

Deposed former premier Nawaz Sharif addresses a crowd during his visit to rge mausoleum of poet Mohammad Iqbal on Independence Day in Lahore on Aug 14. (AP Photo)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's national anti-corruption body on Friday filed riminal charges against ousted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his children in an anti-corruption court as directed by the Supreme Court in its landmark July 28 decision.

Officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said the charges were filed against Sharif, his two sons Hassan and Hussain, daughter Maryam, and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar for illegal transfers of money abroad, purchase of real estate abroad and incorporating offshore companies, as disclosed in the leaked Panama Papers.

"The cases were filed in the accountability courts in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, prepared on the basis of material collected and referred to by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and other material collected by NAB during the course of the investigation," a statement by the NAB said.

Sharif was forced to resign on July 28 after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office for being corrupt and dishonest. The court asked the NAB to file cases against him, his family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The cases relate to the purchase of Avenfield Properties in London, the setting up of Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia and the incorporation of as many as 16 companies abroad in violation of Pakistani tax and company laws.

According to the anti-corruption body, Maryam has been charged among other things for submitting forged documents to the Supreme Court, which could invoke imprisonment of up to three years.

Media reports quoting legal experts said that Sharif could face imprisonment of up to 13 years for the charges against him. His two sons are living abroad looking after real estate and other business interests.

Sharif went abroad on Aug 30 to visit his wife, who is in hospital in London. He was scheduled to return home on Friday evening.

A separate case of living beyond means was also filed against Dar.

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