PML-N Gearing Up For “Movement” If Nawaz Arrested

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Sharif maintains that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) could not present any evidence proving that he had established the two steel businesses in Jeddah while in exile.

ISLAMABAD (Dec 22, 2018) — The ac­coun­ta­­bility court on Monday will announce the much-awaited judgement in the Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment related corruption references against former premier Nawaz Sharif.

Former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair said the party had two plans for December 24 — celebrations if the decision comes in favor, otherwise the plan is to express disappointment.

He said party supporters would react in case of Sharif was arrested, but the party leaders would ensure that reaction did not become violent. “There is no plan to stage any protest or sit-in. No plan to take out any mega rally or anything,” he added.

Sharif will attend the accountability court in Islamabad on December 24, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Leader Rana Sanaullah said on Friday.

He said the party had no plans to stage any sit-ins or take out any protest on that day, even if the decision went against Sharif but warned that the party was unable to control its workers if they resorted to any agitation.

“We cannot stop party supporters from coming out on the road, but officially there is no plan for taking out any rallies or anything,” the senior PML-N leader told local daily The Express Tribune, while responding to a query about the party’s protest plans if Sharif was arrested.

When pressed further if the party was gearing up for elections or for a possible agitation movement, he said the way situation was shaping up, an agitation seemed imminent. “The PML-N is preparing for it,” he said.

Sharif maintains that the NAB could not present any evidence proving that he had established the two steel business units in Saudi Arabia while in exile. NAB has submitted documents to argue its case, and presented a maize of money trials connecting the dots—an exercise in white collar crime related cases practiced worldwide.

But capability and capacity issues haunt the bureau headed by one of the country’s top notch retired judge who has vowed to make the society corruption free.

On Friday, Sharif’s counsels submitted some documents to the court related to the UK properties of Hassan Nawaz. The special prosecutor objected to the submission of documents at the eleventh hour and said the prosecution had the right to examine the relevant record.

The court declined the verbal request to defer for a couple of days announcement of the judgement on Monday.

Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik has ordered the police not to permit all court reporters to witness the announcement of the judgement. The accountability judge has allowed about 10 journalists to cover the announcement of judgement. However, the reporters requested the authorities concerned to permit minimum 20 reporters inside the courtroom on Monday.

The former premier last summer was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 10 years in prison and subsequently disqualified from holding public or political party positions. The rulings emanated from Avendale Apartments in London case.

The court ruled that Sharif and his daughter had participated in owning four apartments called Avendale Flats in an upscale London district. The family insisted that the apartments were purchased through legitimate financial resources, but prosecutors said they had been unable or unwilling to produce proof of those claims.

(Dawn/Express Tribune/Washington Post)

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