Pakistan’s anti-corruption body has slapped a new case of corruption on deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, mitigating the legal crisis of the embattled opposition leader, who often attacked the powerful army as well as the government is.
Sharif, 70, of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), who was ousted from power in 2017 by the Supreme Court on corruption charges, is currently in London for medical treatment.
The National Accountability Bureau also approved cases against Sharif’s ex-private secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad, former federal minister Ahsan Iqbal, former foreign secretary Ejaz Chaudhary and former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Aftab Sultan, Don newspaper.
A total of 11 cases were approved at the Executive Board meeting (EBM) of the NAB on Thursday, headed by Justice Javed Iqbal.
According to the NAB, a fresh case was approved against Chaudhary, Sultan and Fawad for procuring 73 high-security vehicles against Sharif for “illegally” protecting foreign dignitaries.
He was charged with favoritism and illegal use of vehicles, causing a loss of more than Rs 1,952 million to the national exchequer.
EBM approved a case against Ahsan Iqbal and Mohammad Ahmed, owner of contractor / private firm Ahmed & Sons, for “breach of authority” to increase the scope of Sports City project from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 3 billion in Nahral. .
He is accused of illegally funding provincial government projects of the federal government after the 18th Amendment using personal influence, which caused huge damage to the national exchequer.
The case against Iqbal was sanctioned two days later when he said in a private TV talk show that NAB had been investigating the Narowal Sports City case against him for the last two-and-a-half years, but did not make any reference.
Sharif is already facing several cases of corruption and misuse of authority, which he has declared as political retaliation by the current government led by Prime Minister Khan.
A recent speech by Prime Minister Khan after the approval of fresh cases will see the opposition see a different Imran Khan, which was deemed as a threat to arrest more opposition leaders and court cases.
Apart from Sharif and his close associates, the NAB cleared cases of alleged corruption worth billions of rupees against several officials and businessmen for harming the country in various projects.
Sharif in recent speeches criticized the military establishment at the gatherings of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement.
A few days before the July 2018 general elections, Sharif was convicted in the Avenfield properties case and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His daughter Maryam was sentenced to seven years in prison for kidnapping and one year for his son-in-law Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar.
Also read Pakistan Police briefly detained Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law
In December 2018, anti-corruption court judge Arshad Malik convicted Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case and sentenced him to seven years in prison. Judge Malik was later dismissed from service on malpractice.
The IHC later granted bail to Sharif, Maryam and Safdar. Sharif was sent to jail after pleading guilty in the Al-Azizia case, but was released for eight weeks on medical grounds. The bail order lapsed while the former premier was in London.
In September, the IHC set an appeal against the conviction of Sharif in the Al-Azizia and Avefield cases. After hearing the plea, the court rejected the plea of Sharif while issuing the non-bailable arrest warrant and issued the non-bailable arrest warrant.
The court then issued his declaration giving the former chief a final opportunity to engage in proceedings before seizing his assets.
Separately, an accountability court in Islamabad has already seized the movable and immovable properties of Sharif as he absconded in the Toshkhana case, which is about alleged corruption in the purchase of vehicles.
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