Pak anti-graft team to visit UK for evidence against Sharifs

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Lahore, Oct 10 (PTI): A Pakistan anti-graft team will visit London to record the statements of some “important witnesses” and collect evidence of properties of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, an official said on Tuesday.

Sharif had to step down as prime minister and president of the ruling PML-N party after he was disqualified by the Supreme Court on July 28 in the Panama Papers scandal. An official of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told PTI that it is sending its combined investigation team (CIT) to London in a few days to record the statements of some “important witnesses” regarding the properties of Sharif and his children – Maryam, Hassan and Hussain. “Since we have not received a reply from the British authorities regarding our queries about the Sharif family’s Avenfield Properties, it has been decided to send the CIT there to peruse the matter in person,” he said.

The NAB has also written to the interior ministry to get Hassan and Hussain’s red warrants issued through Interpol. The accountability court in Islamabad yesterday declared the sons of Sharif proclaimed offenders for repeatedly failing to appear before it. It also issued their perpetual warrants and separated their trial from Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and her husband Captain (retired) Mohmmad Safdar.

The court has set October 13 for indictment of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Safdar. Deputy Prosecutor General of the NAB Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman said since Sharif’s sons had been declared proclaimed offenders, there properties and bank accounts in Pakistan will be attached (frozen). “Once the red warrants of Hassan and Hussain are issued, the NAB will take up the matter with the UK authorities for their extradition,” he said. The NAB said that since there has been no extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK, Sharif’s sons may not be brought back here to face the three corruption and money laundering cases against them. “Having no extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK, Hasan and Hussain will escape arrest in London and accountability in Pakistan. We (will) file an extradition petition in a London’s court once Interpol issues their red warrants,” the official said. Maryam is not sure whether her brothers would appear before the court on October as said: “My brothers take their decisions themselves.

They live abroad and the laws of the land here don’t apply to them”. The four cases against the Sharif family are related to their properties in London and Dubai. Sharif was re-elected as the president of the ruling PML-N on October 3 and immediately demanded that those who disqualified him should respect the people’s mandate and democracy.

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