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Pakistan anti-corruption court indicts former prime minister Nawaz Sharif

Thompson Reuters

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ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani anti-corruption court has indicted ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter over allegations linked to ownership of London properties on Thursday, opening a trial that could see the former leader jailed.

The Sharifs have called the corruption proceedings against them a conspiracy, hinting at intervention by the powerful military, but opponents have hailed it as a rare example of the rich and powerful being held accountable.

Sharif, 67, resigned in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income, but the veteran leader maintains his grip on the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

Judge Bashir Ahmad of the court that tries cases registered and investigated by an anti-graft body, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), indicted Sharif, his daughter Maryam Sharif and her husband, Muhammad Safdar. They all pleaded not guilty.

Maryam and Safdar were present in court, but Sharif, who was prime minister twice in the 1990s, sent a representative while he tends to his ailing wife in Britain as she undergoes cancer treatment. Maryam said in the court that the charges were unfounded and baseless.

“This will go down in history as a travesty of justice,” she said.

Outside the court, Maryam again hinted at military interference in the judicial process by saying the trial was “a repeat of 1999”, the year her father was toppled in a military coup led by former army chief Pervez Musharraf.

It is not clear if she was comparing the trial to the coup, or subsequent corruption accusations and investigations that Musharraf ordered into Sharif.

Sharif`s disqualification stemmed from the Panama Papers leaks in 2016 that appeared to show that his daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy posh flats in London.

The Supreme Court initially declined to dismiss Sharif but ordered an investigation into his family`s wealth.

A separate Supreme Court-appointed panel said the family`s wealth did not match its income, and accused Maryam and her brothers of signing forged documents to obscure ownership of offshore companies used to buy the London flats.

After the probe, the top court disqualified Sharif and ordered the NAB to investigate and conduct a trial. Sharif denies ever receiving the small source of income that led to his disqualification.

The NAB has in the past been described as toothless because of its low conviction rates, especially when it comes to powerful politicians, and investigations that last many years.

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Acid attack victim Samjhana Das succumbs to injury

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — 18-year-old Samjhana Das from Chandrapur Municipality, Rautahat who was undergoing treatment in Kathmandu for acid-burns, has died. Das, passed away at 11:40 pm on Sunday night at Kirtipur Hospital after infections spread to other parts of the body, according to hospital source.

Samjhana and her 16-year-old sister, Sushma from Chandra Municipality-6, Rautahat were attacked with acid while they were asleep on September 11 midnight.

Samjhana, whose 40 percent body parts were burnt was brought to the hospital in critical condition.

It was later revealed that their 50-year-old neighbour Ram Babu Paswan, in an act of unrequited love, had thrown on Das sisters, his primary target being the elder sister, Samjhana.

Ram Babu, the criminal in guise of a concerned neighbour, was later detained by the police based on circumstantial evidences.

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