Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif will not appear before an anti-corruption court here today to face indictment in the Panama Papers case as he is in London with his ailing wife, a senior leader has said.
A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court of Pakistan has adjourned the hearing of graft cases against the Sharif family after a number of lawyers associated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) forced their way into the court and surrounded the judge's bench. The court asked both defendants to leave the courtroom and adjourned the hearing till October 19 to indict Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Safdar. Reportedly, minutes before the court was about to begin proceedings, lawyers started protesting against security arrangements which had "restricted their movement in the court premises".
Sharif had failed to appear on Monday before the court as he was in London with Kulsoom. Taking notice of the incident, the interior ministry asked Islamabad Police to compile a detailed report of the incident. A lawyer got injured due to unknown reasons. Sharif's daughter, Maryam, who was present inside the court with her husband during the ruckus, condemned the unnecessary hurdles created by the lawyers and urged for a probe into the matter.
In the last hearing, the court had declared Hasan and Hussain Nawaz - Nawaz Sharif's sons - as absconders, besides approving the bail of Maryam and Safdar after they appeared in court. They had also attended the previous hearing.
Sharif's wife Kulsoom, who is suffering from throat cancer, has undergone three surgeries in the United Kingdom so far.
The court had set October 13 as the date of his indictment. Unfortunately, the strategy followed by the defence from the outset is apparently one of bogging down the judicial process in hair-splitting legal technicalities and procedural glitches, and aggressive speeches against the judiciary by a group of zealous PML-N loyalists, including cabinet ministers.
Sharif's family has alleged that the cases are politically motivated.
Sharif was disqualified from office in July.