Nawaz Sharif leaves for London days before indictment in graft cases

Nawaz Sharif leaves for London days before indictment in graft cases
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Lahore: Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif today left for London, four days before his indictment in three graft cases.

Sharif left his Jati Umra residence this morning amid high security and reached the Lahore airport to catch a PIA flight for London to be with his ailing wife Kulsoom.

His younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif saw him off.

The ruling PML-N did not confirm whether Sharif would return by October 9 to face his indictment in corruption and money laundering cases against him in an accountability court in Islamabad.

Interestingly, the return date on his ticket is January 4.

A five-member Supreme Court bench on July 28 disqualified Sharif, 67, for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal, forcing the prime minister to quit for a record third time.

Since then, the PML-N chief has been raising questions against the verdict.

When asked if Sharif will skip his indictment and more appearances till January 4, his political secretary Senator Asif Karmani said, “Mian sahib (Sharif) has gone to London to see his ailing wife Begum Kulsoom. He will return to face the cases like he did in the past”.

He said Sharif is eager to be in London to see his wife who has undergone three surgeries for throat cancer.

Sharif had planned to leave for London last Thursday but deferred his departure in order to face indictment in three corruption cases.

However, the court fixed October 9 as the date for his indictment.

His children – Hassan, Hussain and Maryam – are currently in London with their mother. They have also been summoned in the accountability court for the October 9 hearing.

Sharif’s children and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar had skipped the previous three consecutive hearings after which the court had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Hassan, Hussain and Safdar and bailable arrest warrant for Maryam.

Sharif said his children will appear in court after the condition of his wife improves.

He has described the trial of him and his family members as “targeted” saying he had no hope of getting justice.