'Sharif to skip court proceedings in Panama Papers case today'

Capt Safdar moves IHC to putt off indictment in graft reference

The court has summoned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain Safdar for indictment, however, Sharif skipped the hearing as he is in London to visit his ailing wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The court also made a decision to conduct separate trials of Husain and Hasan from Sharif and his daughter and son-in-law. However, the court was expected to indict Maryam and Safdar as their case had been severed from that of her father and brothers - Hassan and Hussain. They are of the view that whey lawyers are being stopped from entering the court despite the orders of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Sharif and his sons have been nominated in all three references, while Maryam and her husband have been named only in a reference related to the family's London flats. Earlier, Safdar was arrested by the NAB on October 9 just after his return from London but later released by the court on bail.

Sharif's lawyer Khawaja Harris asked the court to adjourn hearing for 15 days with commitment that Sharif would also appear.

Sharif's wife Kulsoom, who is suffering from throat cancer, has undergone three surgeries in the United Kingdom so far.

The unruly lawyers and ruling party workers were demanding that they be allowed to attend the hearing of the cases against their leaders.

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Sharif, 67, was disqualified by the country's top court in the Panama Papers scandal in July this year. Thus, he said, the trial court be directed to postpone their indictment.

The references against the Sharif family pertain to the Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment, their London properties and over dozen offshore companies owned by the family.

Both Maryam and Safdar have been charged by the NAB in one of three corruption cases filed on September 8 against Sharif.

As she left the court premises, Maryam Nawaz told reporters that she will ask the Interior Ministry to come up with a strategy to keep such events from occurring in the future.

Sharif was re-elected as the president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on October 3 and immediately demanded that those who disqualified him should respect the people's mandate and democracy.

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