Pak court rejects Sharif's plea to merge 3 graft cases
Islamabad: A Pakistani anti-graft court on Wednesday rejected ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's plea to club together three corruption cases against him and used his presence to once again indict him in the Panama Papers case.
The three cases were registered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8 against Sharif, his children and son-in-law in the Accountability Court Islamabad, following a verdict by the Supreme Court on July 28. Sharif, 67, had to step down after he was disqualified as the prime minister by the apex court in the Panama case. Now, Sharif will have to face three separate trials with hearings stretching out for months. Sharif was called to the rostrum and the chargesheets in three cases were read to him. The former prime minister pleaded not guilty to all the charges and contented that he was being deprived of the fair trial as the court was moving in a hurry to decide the case in six months as per direction of the Supreme Court. Rejecting the plea, Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir said that Sharif would be given fair trial under the law and then postponed the hearing till November 15.
Heavy security arrangements were made and hundreds of security personnel deployed around the court premises to deal with any untoward situation. Sharif later told media that Wednesday 's verdict would be written in "black words" in Pakistan's history. "There are several black pages in the last 70 years of Pakistan history when there were dictators. This judgement (of review petition) will also be written in black words," he said.