Nawaz Sharif pleads not guilty in Flagship Investments court indictment

Former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was indicted by an accountability court on Friday in a reference related to Flagship Investments and other offshore companies.

According to the Dawn, the accountability court charged Sharif in absentia for holding assets beyond his known sources of income and read out a charge-sheet to his pleader, Zafir Khan.

Khan pleaded not guilty on behalf of Sharif, who is currently in London tending to his ailing wife, Kulsoom Nawaz.

According to the charge-sheet, Sharif told the joint investigation team that he was a shareholder in 15 companies, including Flagship Investments, Hartstone Properties, Que Holdings, Quint Eaton Place 2, Quint Saloane, Quaint, Flagship Securities, Quint Gloucester Place, Quint Paddington, Flagship Developments, Alanna Services (BVI), Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron, Ansbacher, Coomber and Capital FZE, Dubai.

The court was told that his sons, Hassan and Hussain, were his dependents in 1989 and 1990. However, Sharif, submitted a record of assets for Hassan from 1990-1995, the charge-sheet read.

The charge-sheet observed that Sharif had held important positions in public office, including those of chief minister and prime minister.

On Thursday, accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir indicted Sharif in the Avenfield Properties and Al-Azizia Company references through his pleader, while charges against Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her husband, retired Captain Muhammad Safdar were framed in the Avenfield reference in their presence.

The Sharif family pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming that they were denied the fundamental right to a fair trial.

According to Sharif's pleader, the Supreme Court's judgement of July 28 in the Panama Papers case was "unprecedented" and denied him his "fundamental rights which the Constitution guaranteed for every citizen for being treated in accordance with law".

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