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Pakistani anti-corruption court indicts ousted PM Sharif

Pakistani anti-corruption court indicts ousted PM Sharif
From Reuters - October 19, 2017

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Thursday indicted ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter over allegations linked to ownership of London properties, opening a trial that could see the former leader jailed.

The Sharifs have called the corruption proceedings against them a conspiracy, hinting at intervention by the powerful military, but opponents have hailed it as a rare example of the rich and powerful being held accountable.

Sharif, 67, resigned in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income, but the veteran leader maintains his grip on the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

Judge Bashir Ahmad of the court that tries cases registered and investigated by an anti-graft body, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), indicted Sharif, his daughter Maryam Sharif and her husband, Muhammad Safdar. They all pleaded not guilty.

Maryam and Safdar were present in court, but Sharif, who was prime minister twice in the 1990s, sent a representative while he tends to his ailing wife in Britain as she undergoes cancer treatment.

Maryam said in the court that the charges were unfounded and baseless.

This will go down in history as a travesty of justice, she said.

Outside the court, Maryam again hinted at military interference in the judicial process by saying the trial was a repeat of 1999, the year her father was toppled in a military coup led by former army chief Pervez Musharraf.

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