Islamabad: Sacked Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared before an anti-corruption court Tuesday, vowing to fight the allegations as proceedings begun in a trial that could ultimately decide whether he faces imprisonment.
The Supreme Court ended Sharif’s tenure as prime minister in July, banning him from holding public office following an investigation into corruption allegations against him and his family.
The case against the prime minister stemmed from the Panama Papers leak last year, which sparked a media frenzy over the lavish lifestyles and high-end London property portfolio of the Sharif dynasty.
The former premier returned to Islamabad this week to appear in the court case ordered by the Supreme Court and overseen by the National Accountability Bureau, which is expected to issue a criminal indictment against him next week.
At a press conference afterwards, Sharif said he was set on ensuring his party scored a landslide win in elections next year.
He said he had been denied a fair trial but was still seen as innocent in the court of public opinion.
“For God’s sake let this country move according to the constitution and if the constitution gives the people the right to rule, accept it,” he said.
His comments came over a week after his wife won his former parliamentary seat during a by-election in Lahore.
The poll was seen as a test of the popularity of Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).
Last month Sharif led legions of supporters from the capital Islamabad to his powerbase in Lahore, in a days-long procession that brought thousands onto the streets.
During the trip he repeatedly blasted the Supreme Court’s actions, saying its ruling was an “insult” to Pakistanis. – AFP
Story first published: 26th September 2017