Pakistan's expelled prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and his son-in-law have been found guilty by an anti-corruption court on Thursday, 19 October. All three of them pleaded not guilty to the charges after they were indicted by the accountability court in Islamabad.
Sixty seven-year-old Sharif stepped down in July after the country's Supreme Court disqualified him from holding a public office over corruption allegations stemming from revelations in the so-called Panama Papers leak. Leaked documents showed Sharif's family members owned undeclared offshore firms, following which an investigation has also been ordered.
The latest court ruling indicts Maryam Nawaz, who has been growing as a leader in her family-led political party, and her husband Captain Mohammad Safdar. However, two of Sharif's sons, who also featured in the Panama Papers, were not indicted. Judge Mohammed Bashir read the charges against the trio rejecting their earlier plea to defer the proceedings.
"Injustice and atrocities cannot continue together," Maryam told reporters as she was leaving the court building.
Sharif was not present in the court during the trial and is currently in the UK, where his wife is undergoing treatment for throat cancer. The judgement was originally scheduled for 13 October but got delayed after clashes erupted between Sharif's political supporters and police personnel.
Following the indictment, the trio released a statement challenging the verdict. "I do not plead guilty. Charges are not only groundless, baseless and unfounded but also frivolous, and on top of that, we are being denied our right to fair trial. The charges are being framed on a report that is incomplete and controversial. It will go down in history as [a] mockery of justice and travesty of justice. Moreover, the charges are being framed without awaiting the detailed order of the Supreme Court in the review petitions," read the statement.